Viera boys soccer team should be exciting to watch


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Viera's Braedon Clark (No. 11) battles a Melbourne player for control of the ball during the Hawks' season opener. The young Hawks should only get better as the season goes on.

Carl Kotala

Viera High boys soccer coach Nick Robinson can promise you this much about this year’s version of the Hawks:

“It’s going to be an exciting team.”

With so many young players on the Hawks roster, fans will have a chance to literally watch the team grow over the next few years. How quickly they can grow up this season depends on how much experience the players can gain, particularly in big games.

Viera opened the season with a 1-0 loss to perennial district champ Melbourne, and while that may certainly be seen as a setback in the Hawks’ climb to the top, there were still plenty of positives the Hawks could take from the game.

“They’re a young team. They’re confident,” Robinson said. “You saw the left back (Kyle Hupfer) getting up and down the line. For a 10th grader, he’s not scared to take players on, get forward and be dynamic.

“He and Tibor (​Susanj) on that left-hand side are really good defenders. They’ve got a bright future ahead of them.”

Top scorer Kia Mohajeri, who scored 16 goals as a freshman last season, only played 10 minutes because of an injury but is expected to be back in action soon.

Senior Andrew Madlener, Viera’s second-leading scorer from last year, also missed the Melbourne game.

Once the Hawks have Mohajeri and Madlener back, they should combine with players like senior John Dashi, Hupfer, Susanj, junior captain Robbie Murtha and newcomer junior Christian Becerra​ to form a dangerous team.

Sophomore Patrick Murtha, who has settled in as the starter at center mid, should also be included that group

Another sophomore, Mads Jensen, started nearly every game for the Hawks last year.

“He is our engine/enforcer in the midfield,” Robinson said. “Works his socks off and loves a physical challenge. He is also a left-footer with a lot of technical ability. We will be looking for Mads to take the next step and hopefully chip in with a few goals and assists to really leave his imprint on games.”

Junior goalkeeper James Leonard had a brilliant game against Melbourne and should push senior Max Pacheaco for playing time.

Oher Hawks to watch this season include: Adam Choss; Tyler​ ​McGoldrick; Andrew​ ​Scougall; Braedon​ ​Clark; Michael​ ​Howell; Nathan​ ​Brooker; Mathew​ ​Kowlessar​; Stephen​ ​McHale; Corbin​ ​Lindsey and Zachary Nielsen.

After having to face Melbourne in the district semifinals each of the past two years, the Hawks are looking to get the No. 2 seed in the district playoffs this season.

Their games on Dec. 7 at Heritage and Dec. 15 at Sebastian River should go a long way to making that happen.

“That’s our No. 1 objective this year, to make sure we get through the semis and into the finals this year, hopefully through an easier path than we’ve had the past two years,” Robinson said. “These boys are working hard and if they keep working hard, I think they’ll get there.”