Tigers start season with high hopes
By Scott Loftis
With almost every key player back from a team that reached the Class 3A state championship game — plus some exciting young newcomers — hopes are high for the Green Forest Tigers going into the 2020 soccer season.
Green Forest, which went 16-2-2 last season, opened 2020 Monday with a game at Prairie Grove.
“We’ve got almost everybody back, so we’re pretty excited,” Green Forest coach Ben West said. “It looks pretty good for us right now.”
Green Forest’s returning players are led by sophomore goalkeeper Fredy Juarez Jr.
“I think he’s one of the best goalies in the state as far as our classification,” West said.
Senior midfielder Bryant Escobar, the Tigers’ team captain, scored five goals in the state tournament last season.
“He can play so many different positions that we get to utilize him in different places,” West said. “That helps us on any weak spot we have.
West said junior Gilverto Borrayes has stood out in practice.
“We’re excited about having him back,” West said. “He’s doing a really good job.”
Sophomore Navor Perez also has been impressive in preseason practice.
“Man, he can get after it,” West said. “He’s fast, quick, good with his feet.”
West is also excited about a pair of freshmen that have been dubbed the “Blues Brothers” — Blu Do Soh and Blu Do Htoo
“They actually live together,” West said. “You can tell they’ve played together all their life. We’re just really excited about them being with our group.”
The Tigers’ 2019 season ended with a 4-0 loss to Central Arkansas Christian in the state championship game. While the long stung at the time, West said Green Forest has used it as added incentive.
“Physically we were not as strong as they were, so we’ve really worked on that in the offseason,” he said. “We’ve been hitting the weights and running.
“We’re excited and we think we may have a legitimate shot to get back there. That’s what we’re hoping for, anyway. We’ve reviewed that film, and it’s a drive for us. We’re using that as motivational material.”