With the Bakersfield College men's soccer team’s season underway, coach Vayron Martinez and his team are looking to take a step forward after last season’s 9-6-5 overall record and 4-2-4 mark in conference play.
The program has been back on the map for four years after being cut from the school's athletics program nearly 20 years ago.
"Going into our fourth year, any improvement that will generate more awareness of the program within the community or the state is going to be good for our players," Martinez said.
In part, Martinez wants that exposure for his players to improve their talents and then have the opportunity to transfer to a four-year university when their playing days at BC are over.
And he believes the Renegades' 2019 roster is ready to make an immediate impact on the field. Martinez said it’s difficult to pinpoint one specific player because in his estimation, everyone on the 27-man roster will fill a role.
He did point to local products such as sophomore defender Edgar Gonzales (Bakersfield High graduate), who took home team MVP last year after scoring seven goals. Also on the coach’s radar as players to watch are sophomore defender/midfielder Christian Gonzales (Ridgeview) and sophomore midfielder Anthony Ponce (East).
In total, there are 24 Kern County residents on the team's roster. Overall, the Renegades feature 10 returning players from a season ago.
BC opened its season Tuesday with a 2-0 home win over Lemoore. The team will have four straight road games before returning home Sept. 10 against East Los Angeles. Conference play gets underway Oct. 18 with a home game against Antelope Valley and lasts through mid-November.
"Each game is the most important game, with the men being so young,” Martinez said. “I hope the men's focus is in that game and not on anything else."