SBCC men’s soccer: Vaqueros bigger, stronger

When John Sisterson watches his SBCC men’s soccer team, he likes what he sees.

“We have a large squad and we’ve got some real strong players, both technically and physically,” said the fifth-year head coach. “It’s probably the biggest squad we’ve had in terms of height and weight. We’re very happy the way things are progressing.”

SBCC opens the season on Tuesday with a 2 p.m. game at Sequoias in Visalia. They’ll play their next three at home against Taft (Sept. 6), Cypress (Sept. 9) and San Bernardino Valley (Sept. 13). Santa Barbara was 10-1-1 in La Playa Stadium last fall.

Six players are back from last year’s 16-3-3 edition that was ranked No. 7 in the state. The Vaqueros went 15-1-2 in their first 18 games and were in position to win a third straight WSC title before finishing second, one point behind Oxnard.

Santa Barbara, which is 32-3-7 in conference over the last three years, advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

Yonha Adrabi tops the list of returning starters. He was one of the top goalies in the state with a 0.63 goals-against average and 12 shutouts. He was a first-team All-WSC pick, along with defender Roberto Santana, who‘s also back.

The Vaqueros scored 51 goals last year and had the No. 2 defense in California, allowing just 14 goals in 22 games.

Other top returners are Peter Aguilar, a Santa Barbara High product who played two years ago, and midfielders Nick Littleton, John-Joe Slater and Rodrigo Perez (Dos Pueblos High).

Davies Kabogoza is an intriguing newcomer from Uganda. “He had a challenging upbringing and he taught himself how to play,” noted Sisterson. “He came here as a goalie but we moved him to forward. He’s a natural athlete.”

Other top newcomers are goalie Tony Mendoza (Dos Pueblos), forward Duran Stanley (SBHS), center back Anthony Rodriguez and midfielder Jordan Tabor of England.

Sisterson’s team is skilled all over the field.

“We like to get the ball down (at their feet), move it around quickly and go forward,” he explained. “We like the fullbacks to push up and that’s what we intend to do again.“I’m happy with the way the boys are jelling. They get along well with each other.”