Head Coach Larry Aguiar sits, in his usual spot, in his usual red lawn chair. Despite the brisk chill of the Livermore November evening, he and his team are pleased to be hard at work.
The reason is they are preparing for a playoff game — one that pits them against highly ranked City College of San Francisco.
For the second time in thirty years, the Hawks men’s soccer team has advanced into the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
The Nov. 22 match will take place on the CCSF campus at 10 a.m.
A huge reason for the team’s playoff berth is a late-season 1-0 victory over that same CCSF team. A team that was the favorite despite playing on the road against a Hawks team that had beaten them in San Francisco, by the same score, a year earlier.
“Last year we beat them for the championship also,” Aguiar said, “two years in a row, so they’re going to be after us.”
The Hawks have had a successful season, led by a group of 13 sophomores who know a level of success uncommon to past players of the Las Positas program. Thirteen players who remember, not only this year’s victory over the Coast North Conference Champions, but last year’s as well.
One of those 13 sophomores is captain Ryan Gollott. It is Gollott’s feeling that the team has what it needs to be victorious over the Rams — they’ll just need more of the same effort they’ve given all year.
“(We need to) play our game,” Gollott said, “and come out with the same intensity that we did when we played them before. And just play together and work hard and we should be able to beat them.”
While Aguiar is happy with the play of his team, this is not the endgame. He will look to continue his recent success over CCSF head coach Adam J. Lucarelli — a coach he has an interesting history with.
“Their coach was a student of mine at Chabot College,” Aguiar said, “ who ran cross-country and track. (He) never played soccer.”
In his time as Lucarelli’s cross-country and track coach, Aguiar introduced him to soccer as a fun form of running and conditioning.
Now the student and teacher have become competitors, and the teacher hopes to enjoy continued triumph. But Aguiar understands that his team’s work will be cut out for them.
“They’re tough,” Aguiar said, “San Francisco City College has got probably half the team are international students. It’s an all-star team almost all the time.”
Until the match on Saturday, however, Aguiar will continue in the same manner he has all year. He will sit in his red lawn chair, along the sideline of the pitch, with his booming voice echoing through the sports complex, and continue to prepare his team for victory.