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East Bay Soccer League Outlook

So I don’t have enough information on each team, so I’m just going to do an outlook for each league and then you guys can critique it, add comments or let me know about any team I didn’t give any mention to.

ACCAL
Until someone beats them, this league belongs to the Richmond Oilers. With that said, the gap is closing, and not because Richmond is getting worse. They are my No. 1 team to start the year, so that tells you what I think of them. Other teams in the league are getting better. Berkeley is going to be a force and Pinole Valley is going to be very good. De Anza is also improving and El Cerrito has a great player in Michael Tieku.
Richmond is my pick here, with Berkeley as the team to watch out for and Pinole Valley is the darkhorse.

BSAL
This league boils down to Albany and Piedmont, and this year, with the young returning crew I think Albany has enough to outlast the Highlanders. I think it will be a very good race between the two teams, and I think St. Mary’s could be a darkhorse.

BVAL
This league should be very, very interesting. I’m hearing good things about Deer Valley, Antioch is a program on the rise and Pittsburg has a new coach in Pablo Gaytan. Freedom, Liberty and Heritage are also getting better. Should be a fun race, and there is no way a team runs through this league without a loss. I’m going to go with Pittsburg as the frontrunner, with Deer Valley as a very close second and Antioch as the darkhorse.

DFAL
I’ve already got Las Lomas people up in arms about not having them ranked. I think this is a bit of a transition year for the DFAL and teams like Campolindo and Las Lomas that lost a few key players might be in the middle of the pack. I’m looking for teams like Dublin and Alhambra to be in the upper half. Acalanes is the clear favorite here. They won the section last year and return a lot of players. They are the giant in this league. I think Dublin is the second best team, and my darkhorse is Campolindo. They are very young, but talented.

DVAL
Rory Gentry has made a living of turning programs around and last year he made Clayton Valley a competitor. This year, the Eagles are the favorite. I really think the entire league is balances, with College Park, Ygnacio Valley, Concord and Northgate all having a chance to be in the mix. I’m gonna say the Falcons, who you can never count out, are the runners up as of right now, and Northgate is the darkhorse.

EBAL
Once again, this league should be the best in the East Bay and super competitive. I’m not picking against De La Salle, even though they lost a lot of good players. They still have kids like Wesley Moar and Michael Bernardi. This team will be very, very good. San Ramon Valley, Amador Valley, Granada and Monte Vista will all be beating on each other to climb to the top. I am going to predict nobody goes without a loss in league this year, but as far as the order of finish, I have no clue. Monte Vista is certainly a team I have my eye on.

HAAL
Just based on reputation and respect of what they did last year, I have Bishop O’Dowd as the highest ranked team in the East Bay Rankings, but the word is Castro Valley is considered the favorite. I think it is going to be a very tight race with those two teams and Hayward.

MVAL
Newark Memorial is going to be tough to beat for any team in the East Bay, and in the MVAL it’s going to be nearly impossible. This team is really good and will challenge, once again, in the NCS playoffs. I think Logan is a team to watch out for, and is my pick as the second best team right now. I liked what I saw in Washington last year and I would keep a close eye on the Huskies.

Alright, let me have it. Let’s hear what everyone has to say and if you agree or disagree.

Matt Smith