|The annual Alliance Tournament returns for an 11th year as Bradshaw Mountain hosts eight boys teams from across the state for a three-day event in Prescott Valley starting Thursday.|
Bracket A features the Bears along with Cesar Chavez, Raymond Kellis and Sedona Red Rock. Bracket B includes Prescott, Mohave, Camelback and Flagstaff.
"Obviously everybody wants to win," Bradshaw Mountain head coach and tournament host Phil Reid said. "But a tournament like this where we have a lot of high profile teams and competition, most of the teams coming in just want to see how deep their roster is, get some players some playing time against very good competition, and you want to play different positions, different scenarios against tough opposition that you probably would not face in your season.
"Yes you want to win, but you also want to get those things in."
(BMHS Field 1)
4 p.m.: Sedona vs. Chavez
6 p.m.: BMHS vs. Kellis
(BMHS Field 2)
4 p.m.: Flagstaff vs. Mohave
6 p.m.: Prescott vs. Camelback
(BMHS Field 1)
4 p.m.: Mohave vs. Camelback
6 p.m.: Prescott vs. Flagstaff
(BMHS Field 2)
4 p.m.: Kellis vs. Sedona
6 p.m.: BMHS vs. Chavez
SATURDAY'S GAMES, FINALS & CONSOLATIONS
(BMHS Field 1)
8 a.m.: Chavez vs. Kellis
10 a.m.: BMHS vs. Sedona
2 p.m.: 2nd Group A vs. 2nd Group B
4 p.m.: 1st Group A vs. 1st Group B
(BMHS Field 3)
8 a.m.: Prescott vs. Mohave
10 a.m.: Flagstaff vs. Camelback
2 p.m.: 3rd Group A vs. 4th Group B
4 p.m.: 4th Group A vs. 3rd Group B
Fields: BMHS Field 1 (campus main field), BMHS Field 2 (Mountain Valley Park, PV), BMHS Field 3 (campus practice football field)
Special to the Tribune
PRESCOTT VALLEY - Teammates are like brothers, but the Bradshaw Mountain boys' soccer program takes it to the extreme.
Siblings abound in Bear Nation this year as Bradshaw looks to build on a seven-win season by welcoming back seven returning players to the new 2013-14 season.
But back to the brothers.
Kevin and Kenneth Castro are on head coach Phil Reid's varsity roster this winter, as are identical twins Hunter and Austin Powell. The brother of Randy Ayala, the leading scorer from a year ago (9 goals), is a freshman on the JV squad. And varsity senior Carson Minnarick also has a brother in JV, as does varsity starting goalkeeper Joshua Castro (no relation to the other Castros), whose brother, Steven, suits up for JV.
The family with the most lineage in the BMHS soccer program, though, is without a doubt the Dera family.
Emannuel Dera, a junior mid, is the fourth brother to pass through the program, all of whom Reid has coached. Luis, the oldest, was the first to wear the black and red, followed by Federico, and then Dario.
All have graduated, and 'Fede' and Dario have since joined the Marines and the Army, respectively. The youngest of the group, Emannuel, or 'Bebe,' represents the clan in 2013-14.
"All of them were very, very good players," Reid said. "It's a family of soccer players."
The family spirit carries on through the entire Bradshaw program.
"You'd never know that they're brothers," Reid said of juggling so many brothers through the communal program. "It's all one team. They are competitive sometimes, especially the Powell brothers. They are very, very competitive against each other if we're racing or doing something. Outside of that, if they weren't identical twins, you'd never know that they are brothers."
Overall, the Bears lost only three starters from a year ago. Although they seem poised to make a run behind so many upperclassmen (nine seniors), Reid is cautiously optimistic.
"Sometimes seniors don't necessarily translate into experience, or talent," he said Wednesday night. "But luckily for us we have talent in certain strategic areas."
This year's lineup features "four or five main attackers," Reid says, in the form of sophomore Evan Villar, junior Randy Ayala, senior team captain Saul Martinez, senior center mid Enrique Meza, senior Austin Powell and junior Kenny Castro rounding out the attacking mix.
Defensively, senior outside back Hunter Powell and senior center backs Augustin Espinoza and Kevin Castro are all returning lettermen.
In goal, the Bears are going young by giving the starting spot to freshman Joshua Castro, who will spend the early going learning the varsity pace and game situations.
Bradshaw ended last season with a 7-5 record, and this year faces a Division 2, Section 5 grouping that Reid calls "probably the hardest I have seen in the last seven, eight years." The section features four sides that qualified for the state playoffs a year ago.
The Bears (2-0) already got a jumpstart to the season, beating Shadow Ridge (2-1) and Buckeye (2-0) over the past nine days.
"We're a pretty strong team," Reid added. "But one of the things we're trying to do is get that synergy going with the guys."