BOYS SOCCER | SEASON PREVIEW | HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR'S JAIRO GARCIA

Garcia brings H-F soccer defense together

2011-08-23T21:30:00Z 2013-03-12T20:09:05Z Garcia brings H-F soccer defense togetherBy Dwight Haislet Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 23, 2011 9:30 pm  • 

When the discussion centers on his 2011 soccer team, one name makes Homewood-Flossmoor coach Charlie Ward talk about all-state potential: Jairo Garcia.

Garcia is the Vikings' most talented player on a team that has more than a little ability. Senior Mike Hurley was all-sectional in 2010 and will be a solid force in the middle this season, and injured junior goalie Phil Huang is a legitimate Division I prospect.

But Garcia is the motor that runs the Vikings and, more specifically, their defense. 

He is the unquestioned leader in the back, and his presence holds the H-F defense together. Garcia is a vocal leader on the field and his teammates have no problem following him.

"I'm in charge of the back, so I have to talk a lot," Garcia said. "I have to talk to all my defense and the goalie, and we're going to have to have a pretty good back in order to win some games."

Garcia is a two-year starter who has played all over the field for the Vikings. Ward considers him the ultimate team player and claims that no one shows a team-first mentality more than Garcia.

"He's just a natural leader on the field," Ward said. "The kids follow him. They trust him."

The senior sweeper has gone from a forward position to the midfield before finally moving to the defense. Garcia knows the last move is best for the team, and that's fine by him.

The Vikings will be forced to deal with injuries early on. A few athletes have been battling injuries and Huang will miss most of the season, but Garcia is confident H-F will be able to overcome the setbacks.

The Vikings will employ a two-goalie system until Huang is able to return.

"Even though we have a few players that got injured, I feel we should be a pretty tough team," Garcia said. "I think my role is to help the goalies not get nervous and come out and do well in the games, especially early. They're more nervous than I am about the season."

The Vikings lost to a strong Eisenhower team in the 2010 H-F Regional final, but hopes are high that they may be able to return to the regional finals -- and maybe go beyond that.

"In the playoffs, I expect to get pretty far," Garcia said. "We haven't had a real good record in the playoffs the past couple of years, so I expect to have a better record than in past years."

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