SEASIDE - The outlook isn't bleak, exactly, but it could have been better.

The Seaside boys soccer team enters the 2003 season with more than enough to qualify for the state playoffs, but less than expected.

"We're a little thin, frankly," said head coach Jon Broderick, who returned as coach last season after a year in France. "We have plenty of varsity players, but we hope we can score some new guys when the school year begins.

"Some haven't gotten physicals or papers taken care of, and there are a couple JV guys who I haven't seen yet."

The biggest no-show the first week of practice was senior midfielder Vito Cerelli, who apparently has decided not play this year, according to Broderick.

Seaside Boys Soccer glanceCoach: Jon Broderick (13th year)

2002: 9-6-2, overall, 6-1-1 league, 1-2 playoffs

Players to watch: Jared Cederstrom, Ben Dueber, Nathan Pogue, Rick Stella.

Key losses: Vito Cerelli, All-district players David Doyle, Jeff Hinton, Kyle Romine, Aaron Webb.

Outlook:Seaside and Astoria will battle for first in North Ddivision"Vito doesn't want to play, but I hope he comes and chooses to play," Broderick said. "He's played for three years, and without him there, it's kind of like having a brother who doesn't come home for Christmas. You miss him. We still have enough talent - it just leaves us one less man deep."

Primarily, Broderick said, "we lost defenders, so we have to find some midfielders who want to play defense. We should have a good ball possession team again, and we have a little bit bigger team."

Defenders lost to graduation included all-district players David Doyle, Jeff Hinton and Aaron Webb.

Others lost to graduation were Zack Adamson, Bo Hamer, Blake Malo, Kyle Romine and Tony West.

Back for their senior seasons are midfielder Steven Balzer, goalkeeper Jared Cederstrom, forward Ben Dueber, midfielder Chris Dueber and defender Rick Stella.

Ben Dueber injured his knee in one of the early fall practices, but is expected to be fully recovered when the season starts.

"Chris Dueber looks good," Broderick said. "He's back after missing last year, when he got hurt in the jamboree. Rick has impressed me with some good crosses and nice touches on the ball."

Two other seniors, John King and Stephen Kennedy, have both joined the team after not playing last year.

"I haven't seen those guys since they were freshmen," Broderick said. "I was in France when they were sophomores, and they didn't play as juniors.

"So we have some new guys and lost a few others. We're 13 or 14 deep on varsity, with a couple freshmen who look strong," he said. "What we need is a few young guys to fill the JV team out. We have quite a few who aren't playing."

Cederstrom should provide the Gulls with their always-solid play in the net.

"Jared's back and is looking strong and confident," Broderick said, "and so is (junior) Thomas Robinson, who is a good ball handler and nice defender."

The junior class is led by two-year starter at forward Nathan Pogue, along with midfielder Perry Broderick, defender Gabe Wahr-mund and Max Broderick.

Youngsters on the way up include freshman Justin Krieger and Jesse Hinton.

While Astoria coach Jerry Boisvert has voiced his displeasure with the new District scheduling alignment, Broderick doesn't like it either.

The district was divided into North and South Divisions, meaning that Seaside's only league games will come against Astoria, Rainier and Scappoose. The Gulls will face all three teams three times each.

Philomath, Central, Newport and Yamhill-Carlton will compete in the South Division, with the top two teams in each division playing each other in the district playoffs.

"I'm very disappointed," Broderick said. "We loved playing Philomath and Central. Philomath was a nice game for us.

"It's real discouraging," he added. "What a boring season. Everybody will think that - the players, the fans, the coaches ... why would you play a jamboree? The whole season will be a jamboree."

In the meantime, Broderick expects Astoria to provide all the competition the Gulls will need in the regular season.

"They have a great coach, and he'll get everything he can out of them. He'll give us fits, and we'll have two or three great games."