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Fresh faces for the Falcons

John HartKyle Smith (right) is one of the few returning starters for Forest Lake, but head coach Thad Kopec still has high hopes for the Falcons.
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The beat goes on for Forest Lake Christian boys soccer head coach Thad Kopec.

Kopec, who took over the Falcon program in 1982, cashed last year’s senior-laden roster into a 13th Central Valley Christian League title and a trip to division IV section semifinals.

The bad news for Falcon fans is most of the players who made it happen last season are gone.



Eleven were lost to graduation, while league most valuable player Stefan Hilke, a German exchange student, hopped a jet back to the fatherland.

“Basically, I have a brand new team. I don’t want to call it (a rebuilding year) because they’re getting better every week. We’re seeing progress,” Kopec said.




Kopec will put a lot of the responsibility of whipping the rookies into shape on the shoulders of senior co-captains and three-year lettermen Jared Fore, Ryan McQuerry and Kyle Smith.

Fore played in the midfield in his first two years on varsity, then made the switch to sweeper this season.

“It seems like it’s a very comfortable position for him because he can see the entire field. He’s got a strong foot, goal kicks are a real asset for him,” Kopec said. “This is Ryan’s third year starting at right inside midfield. He can see the field and he’s got a good touch on the ball.”

Smith is also in a new position this year.

“He was left outside midfield last year, and this year he’s a defensive midfielder. He’s probably got the strongest foot on out team. And he got a great header. He scored one against Capital (Christian) this year which was one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen,” Kopec added.

Kopec will also look to returning lettermen David Hicks and Kory Kraning for leadership .

Jason Allgeier, the leading scorer from last year’s Falcon junior varsity squad, along with Joe Seisa, Mark Boatman, Caleb Christial and Chris Gallegos will push for playing time.

Hilke is gone, but FLC’s good fortune with newcomers is not.

Dane Johnson, a senior transfer from Placer of Auburn, and German exchange student Fabian Janowski scored a goal each in FLC’s 3-0 shutout win over Victory Christian of Carmichael Tuesday.

Sophomore Stephen Jones, FLC’s leading scorer going into Wednesday’s game at Wilton Christian, scored a goal with two minutes left to tie it up against Lake of the Pines neighbor Bear River Aug. 27.

“I think Dane, Kyle and Stephen, if he keeps scoring the way he is, will help (fill the void Stefen left),” Kopec said.

FLC also has a solid goaltender in Joe Martin, whose tallied three shutouts in seven matches.

As for the league title, Kopec sees is as a three-team race.

He said Woodland Christian, Sacramento Waldorf and his Falcons will most likely fight it out for the CVCL’s two playoff berths.

“I really think we have a chance at the league championship, and maybe making it to the second or third round of the playoffs.” he said.


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