By Laura Amato
The Bayside boys’ soccer team has very specific goals heading into this season—rebuild, reload and keep the ball out of the back of the net.
For the most part, the Commodores are certain they can achieve those goals.
With memories of last year’s semifinal loss to eventual PSAL champ Beacon still fresh in their minds, the Commodores are willing to do whatever it takes to tick off every box on their list of preseason expectations.
“It happens every year, you lose people and you transition new kids in who’ve been around long enough to know— it’s just a matter of how are they going to gel,” Bayside coach Joe Corrado said.
“A lot of teams in New York City are probably going through the same thing. It’s just whoever can pack the snowball better and make something of it and get it launched is really how it goes.”
The Commodores built their success last fall on a stingy defense that racked up nine shutouts and this year promises to be no different.
If the defense can hold its own, Bayside is confident, the rest will fall into place.
“Defense is the building block for any sport,” senior Joseph Guzzo said. “As defenders you have to do your job or you lose. So I think we all know that’s a really important part.”
Bayside boasts a strong core of returning players as well as a handful of seniors who have already stepped up as leaders throughout the first few weeks of practice.
“I think all of us as sophomores and juniors were already kind of leaders,” senior center back Joshua De La Cruz said. “We had played with the seniors last year and I think that we’re ready to go. We can take the team far if we just settle into that.”
In addition to Guzzo and De La Cruz, the Commodores will also depend on senior Ivan Barrera—who made five saves in four games last year—as well as Luis Mendez, who racked up six goals and three assists as a junior.
But while the senior leadership is key, the Commodores also bring a handful of fresh faces that they hope will add an extra spark across the field.
“The young kids are here, it’s just a matter of can the old guys bring them under their wing and get them going,” Corrado said. “We have a tough division and nothing is easy in the city. You’ve got to battle. It’s just going to be a team effort. It always is around here.”
The Commodores are well aware of the expectations heading into the season. But after back-to-back semifinal losses, they’re also more determined than ever to prove what Bayside soccer is made of.
They’ve already accomplished the rebuilding and reloading, now it’s simply about playing shutdown defense and, most importantly, contending for a city title.
“We work hard. We play with heart every game,” De La Cruz said. “And I think that we’re a really strong team, we’re all starting to get together. We haven’t developed anything quite yet, but we’re ready to go.”