Frank Martinez, a longtime fixture on the local club soccer scene, has been named the new head coach of Carson High’s state championship boys squad.
Martinez, 42, replaces Mike Alvarez, who was not rehired by the school. Martinez, a three-sport athlete at Whittell High School and an assistant coach on last year’s team, inherits a team that returns 14 players from last year’s 17-3 squad.
Assisting Martinez is Jorge Ortiz, also an assistant on last year’s staff.
Barring any unforeseen issues, defender Luis Torres, midfielder Jon Limon, sweeper Peter Garrett, forward-midfielder Brian Llamas, midfielder Alejandro Gonzalez, junior forward-midfielder Guillermo Hernandez, forward Oscar Ventura, keeper Efren Ramirez, forward Jaime Saldana, fullback Giuillermo Perez-Morris, forward Rogelio Herrera. fullback Christian Martinez, fullback Osvaldo Gomez, and midfielder Ernesto Lamas all return this season.
Martinez has coached the Carson FC Puma Elite squad for several years, and he has many of his Carson High players on that squad.
“I’m very excited about this season, especially trying to repeat,” Martinez said. “I’m sure all eyes will be on us. Everybody is trying to knock us off. We have a lot of work to do and a lot of hard work ahead of us.
“I expect to have about 70 boys trying out (for both teams). I think the success the past few years has helped in terms of interest. I’m hearing from kids that I haven’t seen play in five or six years.”
The hiring of Martinez makes a lot of sense. He knows the kids and they know him.
“The kids know the system and they know what to expect,” Martinez said. “The boys are excited. Expectations are going to be higher. We are going to stick to the (team) rules more than we did last year. There aren’t going to be any excuses. We’re still going to have fun.”
Martinez is a no-nonsense type of guy, and a good tactician.
One of the biggest changes will be noticed right off the bat.
“This year, we are going to do a lot of conditioning,” Martinez said. “Last year we didn’t do a lot of conditioning. Last year we did a lot of technique work. We need to get a lot more fit.”
And a lot healthier. Two key members — Herrera (knee) and Ventura (ankle) — are coming into the season injured. Herrera had 19 regular-season goals last year and Ventura added 10. Herrera had surgery on his ACL after suffering an injury at a club tournament. He has yet to be cleared for official practice though he has been working out with teammates.
“He (Herrera) might be able to play this year, but he’s not going to be 100 percent,” Martinez said. “He was trying to get off a shot and the defender hit him and the ball. We still have a lot of talent out there, and we play well as a team. We have other people who can score.”
The Senators do have Hernandez (8 goals) and Gonzalez, and even Morris, who can move up to the midfield and be more involved in the offense. He certainly has the ball skills to be an offensive force.
Carson’s season starts Sept. 1 at 3:30 p.m. at Reno.