The 2023 Howard County boys soccer landscape appears to be wide open with great parody across the county and several teams capable of claiming the county crown.
Glenelg graduated several key players from last year’s Class 2A state championship team, while Centennial also lost key pieces from last year’s 3A state runner-up team. Reservoir, Howard and Marriotts Ridge each bring back several of their top players and there is expected to be great competition throughout the county.
All 12 Howard County teams are split among 3A South Region I and II and 2A West Region II. Howard, Marriotts Ridge and Mt. Hebron are three of five teams in 3A South Region I, while Atholton, Long Reach, Reservoir, River Hill and Oakland Mills make up 3A South Region II.
Centennial moves into 2A West Region II alongside Glenelg, Hammond and Wilde Lake. The postseason begins with regional quarterfinals on Oct. 25, while the season concludes on Nov. 16-18 with state championship games being held at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex.
Here is a look at the county teams (Note: Not all teams responded to requests for information)
Coach: Derek Phillips, fourth season
Last season: 5-5-3
Top returners: Seniors Daniel Barrett, Denton Guy-Williams and Francis LaBarbera
Newcomer to watch: Fred Agyeman
On the field: The Raiders graduated last year’s leading scorer, Jacob Fato, and will look for other players to step up and replicate his offensive production. Barrett, a second team All-County performer last season, will anchor Atholton’s backline.
Coach’s outlook: “It’s always nice to see what we have coming in and how they match up against their teammates but the real indication of how we are going to look is when we have our scrimmages.”
Coach: Justin Thomas, seventh season
Last season: 13-2-1, Class 3A runner-up
Top returners: Senior Caleb Addalia (GK); juniors Noah Kantsiper (M), Ben Fang (D) and Calvin Kraisser (D).
Newcomers to watch: Seniors Landon Cole, Noah Radtke, Kevin Zhang; and sophomore Ian Radtke.
On the field: The Eagles graduated 16 seniors including 2022 Howard County Times player of the year Kodee Karcher. Centennial brings back four starters with Kantsiper as a third-year starter in the midfield. Addalia is taking over for All-County performer Kartik Sullivan in goal after excelling as a defender last year. Both Fang and Kraisser give Centennial further experience defensively.
Coach’s outlook: “We graduated a lot of big players but this squad is locked in. They really want to compete. I think they have a good shot if the pieces fall into place sooner than later.”
Coach: Trip Beans, third season
Last season: 2-16
Top returners: Seniors Trey McNair and Matias Perez; juniors Andrew Weisgerber and Jaden Lewis.
Newcomers to watch: Junior Caleb Lippert; sophomore Gavin Brown; freshmen Jevin Ludwig and Jonah Ludwing.
On the field: The Yellow Jackets have several key returners throughout the field and also have an infusion of youth bringing in new young players. Sophomores Aidan Lang and Trevor Smith have developed into anchors on the backline.
Coach’s outlook: “The men’s side at Chapelgate has been a rebuilding project. But this team works hard and plays hard. Their skill and soccer IQ have been growing. I am excited about the depth of the bench and attitude of this team. I believe we have a chance to earn a berth to the playoffs.”
Coach: Joey Osborne, ninth season
Last season: 12-4-1, Class 2A champion
Top returners: Seniors Dylan Ma (D), Vaughn Sines (F) and Justin Zulu.
Newcomers to watch: Juniors Jackston Costell, Nathan Kryder and Jack McCarthy.
On the field: Ma, a first team All-County performer as a junior, anchored the Gladiators defense last year and figures to do so once again. Sines headlines the offensive returners after playing some of his best soccer in last year’s playoffs.
Coach’s outlook: “After graduating 15 seniors from the team last year, we are rebuilding this year. How quickly the returners and those on JV last year are able to come together and adjust to the challenges of Howard County soccer will determine how far we are able to go this season.”
Coach: Elliot Quinteros, third season
Last season: 5-8-1
Top returners: Seniors Eliot O’Neil (M) and DJ Morafa (M); junior Carlos Perez.
On the field: Both O’Neil and Morafa were named All-County performers last year and provide key experience in the midfield. Perez is a third-year varsity player expected to step into a larger role. Junior center back Tim Keister will play a key role defensively, while sophomores Grant Pisone and Drew O’Neil are also expected to play larger roles after playing on varsity last year.
Coach’s outlook: “We have a very competitive team that is pretty deep all around. Looking to improve from last year to 500 or better this season.”
Coach: Nils Schroder, 15th season
Last season: 7-3-2
Top returners: Seniors Logan Ehart (D), Isaiah Omole (D) and Rowan Nelson (D); junior Griffin Garner (D).
On the field: Ehart was named first team All-County each of the last two years and headlines an experienced backline. Omole, Nelson and Garner also provide added depth and size defensively. The midfield trio of juniors Remy Valiente and Ashton Bui as well as sophomore Eben Koffi each earned substantial playing time last year and are expected to have expanded roles.
Coach’s outlook: “If we can gel early we will definitely be a team to look out for.”
Coach: Quinn Khouri, eighth season
Last season: 7-7-1, Class 3A East Region I finalist
Top returners: Seniors Kole Costello (LB), Ryan Jackson (CAM), Kaedin Jones (CB) and Will Marbray (F).
Newcomers to watch: Junior Mahmoud Babkir (W).
On the field: Costello is back after starting almost every game last year, while Jackson brings more experience in the midfield as a three-year varsity player. Jones’ presence defensively will also be important after playing some of his best soccer in last year’s postseason. Marbray stepped into an increased role at the end of last year and is expected to maintain that momentum into this season.
Coach’s outlook: “We are returning a very experienced class of players this season and I believe we can compete with the best teams in the county for what will be an exceptionally difficult county title.”
Coach: Mike Linsenmeyer, 24th season
Last season: 11-2-2
Top returners: Jonathan Sanchez, Nick Buckler, Sachem Kafle, Chris Belcher, Will Kettering, Tyler Hagyard, Luukas Nguyen and Joaquin Donnelly.
Newcomer to watch: Logan McWright
On the field: The Vikings graduated a pair of All-County performers in midfielder Ahmad Alamad and goalie Cooper Strohman. However, they bring back several experienced players with Sanchez bringing high expectations in goal.
Coach’s outlook: “We have a ton of work to do but I do think Jonathan Sanchez is the best goalie I have ever coached and would be our best field player if we did not need him in goal. As long as we continue to improve every day in practice I think we could be a good team.”
Coach: Trevor Shea, second season
Last season: 4-9-2
Top returners: Seniors Brook Dawit (F), Bryan Gomes-Solis (D), Devan Stoutenborough (M), Carlos Contreras (F), Carlos Lopez (GK); junior Victor Ipanaque (M); sophomores Ronaldo Reid (F), John Avery III (D) and Greyson Dove (M).
On the field: Contreras was the Scorpions; second leading scorer as a junior and will once again play a key role offensively. Stoutenborough is a four-year varsity player, joined by Ipanaque in the midfield who will both be key facilitators. Dawot, Reid and Dove each give Oakland Mills scoring options on the attack. Gomez-Solis and Avery III will anchor the defensive line in front of Lopez, a returning starter in net.
Coach’s outlook: “We have a solid group of Seniors that have been playing together for a long time. Finding a nice mix of younger players to complement that core will be an early goal of ours. We won our first playoff game with this group last season against Walkersville in penalty kicks. Our team is looking to improve from last season and be competitive every time we play.”
Coach: Nick Valenti, third season
Last season: 9-4, Class 3A East Region II finalist
Top returners: Seniors Aquila De Carvalho, Clark Anglin, Amir Edris and Graham Leary; junior Adam Hunt.
Newcomers to watch: Junior Henry Rodriguez (M).
On the field: Rodriguez was the Gators’ first midfielder off the bench last year and will step into a bigger role after playing behind two All-County players. Fellow junior centerback Noah Martin has been impressive during the preseason. Leary, who tore his ACL in March, will miss the beginning of the season, but once back will bring a spark offensively and in leadership as a team captain.
Coach’s outlook: “I think we will be good this year, we should have won our region last year. That is our aim this year.”
Coach: Matt Shagouge, 18th season
Last season: 6-10
Top returners: Senior Dylan Martinez; juniors Zach Glass (GK) and Sam Van Ert (M).
On the field: Martinez, a four-year varsity player is back healthy after battling injuries for much of last season. Glass, a three-year starter who has displayed continual improvement, will lead the Hawks’ backend. Van Ert adds great leadership and experience in the midfield in his second year on varsity. The junior trio of forward Allan Ying, centerback Tomi Mumuney and midfielder Charlie Gerber will bring added depth and versatility throughout the field.
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Coach’s outlook: “We have only three seniors on this year’s roster, but the majority of the roster has varsity experience. With a year older, stronger and mature, I am excited and optimistic about the season.”
Coach: Jon Robbins, first season
Last season: 6-8-1, Class 3A quarterfinalist
Top returners: Seniors Andrew Varga (D), Jackson Morgal (ST); juniors Evan Figueroa (M) and Drew Hollida (D).
Newcomers to watch: Junior Ethan James (D); sophomores Owen Bangassi (M) and Bricen Manderson (M).
On the field: Morgan is expected to lead the Wildecats’ offensive attack in his fourth season on varsity. Hollida will anchor the defense while junior Aryeh Murphy, who was also on varsity last year, will play a large role both defensively and in the midfield. Figueroa is entering his third-year starting at midfield and is expected to spearhead that position group.
Coach’s outlook: “Although this team is replacing a senior-heavy team last year, I expect this team to have players who will step up who will help us contend for back-to-back region titles.”