After having its playoff streak snapped last year, a veteran-laden Freeport boys’ soccer team is primed for a postseason return.
The Red Devils finished the 2022 campaign at 4-6-2 in league play to just miss out on reaching the NassauCounty playoffs for a third straight season. The quest to return to the county’s postseason stage is off to start with Freeport entering the week at 2-1-1 in league play.
“Our expectation was to work really hard throughout the preseason, which we did and to get ready and be hungry to do much better this season in a very competitive conference,” said fifth-year coach Craig Klasson. “After missing the playoffs last year it's a big drive to definitely make the playoffs and hopefully make a long run in the playoffs.”
Senior forward Jean Mejia has led the offense charge early this season with four goals and two assists despite facing constant double teams. Mejia, a reigning All-County player who is getting heavily recruited to play on the college level next season, tallied Freeport’s lone goal in a 1-1 draw with Syosset on Sept. 9.
Junior forward/midfielder Lucca Noboa is another big offensive threat who has also registered four goals including two to go along with one assist in Freeport’s 3-0 victory against Hicksville Sept. 14. Noboa, who is a tri-captain along with senior defenders Dylan Woodward and Marco Rosales, earned All-County honorable mention honors as a sophomore last year.
“We’re looking for him to score a lot of goals and create a lot of opportunities in the attacking third,” said Klasson of Noboa.
The defense has also shined brightly early on surrendering just two goals since a season-opening 5-3 non-league win against Lindenhurst on Sept. 5. Woodward and Rosales anchor the backline along with junior Christian Hernandez, who started as a sophomore.
Sophomore goalie Carlos Umanzor has stepped up big in his first season starting in net. He recorded nine saves in a 1-1 win at Freeport on Sept. 12 that improved the Red Devils to 1-1 in Conference AAA.
“He’s very agile and quick,” said Klasson of Umanzor. “He has a lot of potential to keep on growing as a player.”
Freeport is competing in Conference AAA this season with Nassau County’s largest schools including Syosset, Baldwin and Port Washington, who are the top three teams in the league standing now. The Red Devils can achieve a playoff berth with a .500 or better conference record.
The Red Devils are next in action on Thursday at home against Oceanside for a 5 p.m. tilt before hosting Long Beach Saturday morning at 10 a.m. The team will then make the short road trip to Hempstead on Wednesday for a 5 p.m. kickoff.
“They are a great group of players who consider each other family,” Klasson said. “Our saying this year is no bad days and taking every day and enjoying the moment.”