Through past seasons, Meadowbrook’s soccer program has started to move in the right direction. Under new head coach Bill Rudd it looks as if the Monarchs may be in a position to grow even more and pose a big time challenge to Central District opposition.
“We have a good group of kids coming in,” said Rudd. “Our increased success has the kids ready to play, the coaches are more engaged and ready to go, and the school is more engaged,” he continued. “There’s just more excitement that surrounds the program.”
Rudd, formerly the coach of the Matoaca girl’s team, and cousin of new Matoaca boys soccer coach Justin Parker is in his third season of head coaching overall and his first with Meadowbrook. The newest Monarch coach graduated from Meadowbrook in 2007.
This season, the program will be led by a few standouts, with a mixture of experience and a lot of youth. Senior mid-fielder Carlos Mojica is expected to lead the way for the Monarchs.
“Carlos [Mojica] is our leader, he leads by example,” said Rudd. “He’s got great skills on and off the ball,” he continued. “He’s one of the best players in the Central District.”
Outside of Mojica senior Tony Garcia will also be looked to for his leadership and experience. Garcia is applauded for his effort and drive and Rudd says that there isn’t a time anywhere on the field- practice or in-game that Garcia doesn’t give 110%.
“From top to bottom this is the best group of seniors I’ve had on any team,” said Rudd. “I have to do very little- they take care of things themselves and are very disciplined.”
Other than the two seniors, Rudd will look to freshman goalkeeper Bernardo Mendez to have a big year.
“Mendez is a freshman, but I feel he has the most potential of any freshman I’ve ever seen or coached,” said Rudd. “He’s already good and improving, I feel as though he could compete for an All-Central District spot this season.”
One advantage and potential challenge for the Monarchs is that they have a very diverse roster with several international players who speak English as a second language. Also, the adjustment from travel soccer and junior varsity is a big step for most athletes.
“Communication with the team will be key,” said Rudd. “Also, these guys will need to get used to the level of play- players are smarter, more aggressive, more physically mature- it will be an adjustment.”
After a scrimmage with Atlee, a team that’s expected to be very competitive, the Monarchs took a 2-0 loss, but Rudd is starting to get a good feel for who will start, who will play and what roles each player will need to fill for success to happen, and a chance to maybe knock off perennial favorite Thomas Dale.
“Some kids see a program like that [Dale] and get intimidated,” said Rudd. “Coach Mark Fowler is outstanding and has a lot of talent at his disposal,” he continued. “But anyone is beatable on any given day.”
The Monarchs opened the season on Monday at Bird, but due to press time, results cannot be published. Meadowbrook’s next game will be on March 22nd at 7pm as they face Matoaca on the road in the season opener. The game isn’t only for district position, but also for family bragging rights. As mentioned, the two head coaches are cousins.
“It’s going to be fun, I’m ready,” said Rudd. “It’s going to be a highly competitive, family rivalry.”
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