Finding goals is VSC's goal


Sometimes, all it takes is one goal.

For the Valley Stream Central boys’ soccer team last season, it was more often than that. Six times, the Eagles fell by one goal en route to a 4-8-2 record in 2022.

The Eagles relied heavily on Fortune Uzo to produce the little offense they had last year. Now that the former conference Offensive Player of the Year has moved on to college, VSC is putting its faith in its returning players, who are ready to rectify last year’s disappointing campaign.

“We hit a wall where we had some difficulty finishing off games,” coach Billy Miller said. “We were losing a lot of games in the last minute. That's been a talking point for us this year.”

At the heart of the team is senior Andres Vazquez. A striker by trade, Vazquez’s selfless attitude earned him more playing time as a junior. This year, it earned him the title of team captain.

“Andres, last year, realized we had a lot of depth at striker, but realized we had a void at left back.,” Miller said. “He came to me on the first day and said, ‘Coach, put me back there. I can do it.’ It’s just so helpful for the team. The rest of the team sees what he does, and they understand it’s more about the team rather than me.

“He’s a vocal leader,” Miller added. “He’s a hard worker, and he’s got a motor that’s nonstop. With those abilities, it’s kind of natural for his teammates to look up to him.”

Vazquez, along with the team’s other returners, such as Ismael Perez, Chris Duarte, Adriana Ayala and Christian Pelaez, represent the team’s present as its veteran core. Meanwhile, Miller believes he’s already found its future in sophomore Isaiah Smith.

An unknown to Miller prior to this year, Smith has joined the Eagles and immediately inserted himself as a key player in their starting lineup. “Very rarely does a kid come out of nowhere and surprise me. He showed up to tryouts, and right away, I could tell he was just so strong on the ball,” said Miller. “He's really played tremendous soccer for us. We were really lucky to find Isaiah. He's a kid I can put anywhere, and I love it. ”

In VSC’s opening game against Massapequa on Sep. 9, it was Smith who set up Vazquez to score the winning goal. However, that’s been the lone offense for the team thus far, as it started 1-2.

But even though his team is off to a disappointing start, Miller isn’t worried. He knows they’re just one goal away.

“I know for a fact that despite all the heavyweights in our conference, we can compete with all those teams,” said Miller. “I want our players to gain some confidence and realize anything can happen.”

After playing just once this week, VSC will face Academy Charter, Hempstead and Hicksville in a six-day span beginning Sept. 27.