Editor’s note: We have begun a new series called ‘Who’s Next?’, taking a look at up-and-coming area prep athletes to watch for during the 2021-22 academic year. The eighth installment takes a look at boys soccer.
After the deepest run in program history, Spotswood soccer is trending up.
But it isn’t just the Trailblazers that will be returning plenty of talent next year.
The local soccer scene has been on the rise in recent years with the implementation of several youth clubs, a growing interest in the global game and a year-round dedication from several area coaches at various levels.
Spotswood’s runner-up finish in the Virginia High School League Class 3 state tournament may have just put down the blueprint for future success.
In 2022, there’s plenty of talent around the area that could see similar results.
Let’s take a look at some of the names to watch for on the pitch:
Owen Albertson, Junior, Spotswood
The defensive midfielder will be relied upon in a big way to help the Spotswood defense maintain its high-level success that was so pivotal in 2021.
Dakoda Alger, Senior, Page County
As a senior, the midfielder will bring experience on the field and be relied upon as a leader for a Page County team that should be improved next season.
Luke Alger, Sophomore, Fort Defiance
The talented underclassmen is the top striker for the Indians and should help his team compete for a Shenandoah District championship in 2022.
Angel Cortez, Senior, East Rockingham
The talented midfielder and forward has been a consistent producer for East Rockingham and will be the team’s unheralded leader next season.
Brayan Cruz-Macedo, Senior, Broadway
One of the area’s top talents is back as an experienced senior and should continue to help elevate a Broadway program that is on the rise.
Freddy Daniel Hernandez, Freshman, Turner Ashby
The freshman was the leading scorer for the JV team last season will be one of many young talents joining the varsity squad with high expectations.
Kyle Dutt, Senior, Spotswood
The experienced senior is expected to step up and take on a major role increase in his final year with the program after a strong junior campaign.
Ben Harris, Junior, East Rockingham
As another talented midfielder and forward, the East Rockingham junior will hope to help his young squad spark a turnaround next year after struggles in 2021.
Wyatt Herman, Senior, Fort Defiance
The talented central defender brings experience and leadership to a Fort Defiance team aiming for continued improvement next season.
Jadon Huffman, Senior, Page County
The experienced midfielder will look to help the improving Page County program continue to take positive steps forward next season.
Ian Joya, Sophomore, Spotswood
One of the area’s top talents and a legitimate Division I college prospect is back and expected to help maintain Spotswood’s status as a state contender.
Drew Kauffman, Junior, Broadway
After a strong sophomore campaign, the experienced junior midfielder should take on an increased role as a leader and playmaker on the field.
Kyle Maust, Senior, Turner Ashby
The senior defender is expected to be a team captain and the heart of a Turner Ashby defense that continued to improve during an impressive 2021 season.
Xavier Molina-Vega, Senior, Broadway
The talented midfielder brings a quickness and some savvy to the field while providing leadership and experience for an improving Broadway squad.
Christian Nicholson, Sophomore, East Rockingham
The underclassmen has plenty of talent and will be called upon in a big way next season for a young East Rockingham squad that is desperate for improvement.
Nathan Phillips, Senior, Eastern Mennonite
Despite being a senior, the midfielder is in his first season playing for Eastern Mennonite but will take on a big role on, and off, the field this year.
Isai Rodriguez, Sophomore, Harrisonburg
As one of many talented underclassmen for Harrisonburg, the sophomore is expected to be a major contributor for a team with high expectations.
Daniel Romanchuck, Junior, Fort Defiance
The impressive midfielder will continue to take on a bigger role with Fort Defiance while helping the team maintain consistent success.
Daniel Romero, Sophomore, Harrisonburg
After an impressive freshman debut, the versatile underclassmen will be relied upon heavily on a Harrisonburg team loaded with talent next season.
Tyler Shank, Sophomore, Eastern Mennonite
The talented midfielder and defender is bouncing back from an injury that kept him out for significant time, but should play a major role for the Flames.
Daniel Shulgan, Senior, Harrisonburg
The experienced veteran brings a sense of poise and leadership to a young Harrisonburg squad that should, once again, contend for a district title.
Eli Stoll, Senior, Eastern Mennonite
The experienced senior defender has converted to that side of the ball after playing midfielder for Eastern Mennonite in previous seasons.
Ben Sullivan, Sophomore, Turner Ashby
One of the brightest young talents in the area was an All-Valley District selection last season while scoring four goals and racking up five assists.
Ryan Zimmerman, Senior, Page County
The talented defender played a key role for Page County last season, but will be relied upon even more during a pivotal 2022 campaign.