Call it “Part II” of a rebuilding phase for the Astoria boys soccer program.

The Fishermen faced a tough rebuilding job in 2018, following the graduation of seven seniors in 2017.

Astoria lost six more players off last year’s team — a team that had enough troubles with a 2-5-1 league record.

But there are some positives to build on. Such as two all-league returners, nine seniors and some promising newcomers who could step in and have an immediate impact.

Astoria’s goal, so to speak, for 2019: The Fishermen are aiming high.

“Fans can expect to see some beautiful soccer with this bunch,” said Astoria coach Lee Cain. “Our goal is to win the league.”

A tough task, with traditional powers like Seaside and Valley Catholic. Even Tillamook can pull off a surprise win now and then.

Astoria is ready, according to Cain.

“We don’t have a large squad this year, but we have a lot of experience,” Cain said. “We are really looking forward to working with the nine returning seniors: David Bermudez (all-league), Dalton Byrd, Riley Cameron, Marco Franco-Houser, Brooks Fromwiller (all-league), Leo Matthews, Michael Postlewait, Evan Randall and Shrey Sharma.

“These guys not only have a lot of experience in our style of play, but they also know each other really well, and they have great attitude about the season.”

As for the rest of the lineup, “Jeremy Owen (Jr.) is bringing a strong passion for the game and a solid skill set onto the squad, and Yahir Garcia Rojas (Jr.) will now be a solid presence on the back line. He will be combining with Marco to give us a tremendous work rate on defense.”

Cain said Astoria welcomes junior Hugo Monçebo-Perello, “who is joining us from Madrid, Spain. I really like what he brings onto the squad. He will give us much more flexibility in the midfield, and may see some time up top.”

Goalkeeper is always a key position, but Cain said the Fish are ready there, too.

“We’ve had some major keeper changes, including Spark Owen permanently not able to play due to injuries last year, but Dylan Altheide-Nielson (Sr.) has stepped up this past summer and is really showing tremendous promise and natural athleticism in the goal, despite having never really played before. We are very glad to have him.”

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or ghenley@dailyastorian.com.

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