Practice report by Jermaine Dennis:
There aren’t many teams in the section who have fans watching its tryouts on the first day of practice. But in the case of boys soccer powerhouse White Plains, there were a few on hand to witness what coach Marcel Galligani has in store.
Every season, Galligani and the Tigers try to build on their reputation with a section title. Unfortunately last fall, the post-season was an unpleasant experience.
Their season ended after a disappointing first round loss against then No. 19 seed Carmel. During the regular season, the team went undefeated against all Section 1 opponents and was seeded third in the playoffs. But when it was said and done, neither the record nor the seed meant anything.
“I think we have a nice core group that will be returning and has learned from that experience,” Galligani said. “Winning all the games we did and getting a good seed just to lose was a tough pill to swallow, but I think we have some resilient kids who will bounce back nicely.”
With eight returning starters on the field, including senior standout midfielder Derlis Zayas (pictured above), it would be insane to exclude the Tigers from any section title discussions. If the Tigers pull it off, it is almost guaranteed Zayas will have something to do with it.
“He’s instrumental in everything we do,” Galligani said about his senior captain. “He’s a good vocal leader who keeps himself fit by playing soccer all year round.”
Only worry for them thus far is figuring out who will replace last year’s gifted goalkeeper Alejandro Romero. Once their goalie problem is solved, the Tigers will be focused for a title run.
“Every year we come into the first day of practice expecting a good year,” Zayas said. “I want to win championships. That is what we are here for.”
Photo by Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News