The local soccer season is upon us once again, with several local teams beginning preseason practice this week, and both Humboldt State teams hosting scrimmages this weekend.
The HSU women get things started when they host College of the Redwoods on Friday at 4 p.m., with the men following on Saturday, hosting Southern Oregon on campus at 1 p.m.
The HSU men will also scrimmage against Oregon Tech on Aug. 23 and Redwoods on Aug. 25, both at College Creek Field.
“Everybody’s been waiting for roughly nine months for the opportunity to play in the fall season,” said HSU men’s head coach Fred Jungemann, whose team began preseason training on Monday. “A lot of emotion and excitement comes out in the first session, which makes the first day very exciting.”
The Jacks, who are coming off an 8-8 campaign last fall, including a 5-7 mark in conference, open the season at home to Holy Names on Aug. 30.
“We are optimistic and we are hopeful! We have a great group coming back and a strong group coming in,” said Jungemann.
The HSU women, meanwhile, also began practice on Monday and will be looking to improve on their 7-9-1 record a year ago.
“The start of training camp is always an exciting time of the year,” said head coach Paul Karver. “The girls had fantastic energy in the first session and really pushed each other from the start. The senior class this year is comprised of a special group of leaders and it will be fun to see what we can accomplish this year.”
The Lumberjack squad returns seven seniors and kicks off the regular season on Aug. 30 against Concordia Rohnert Park.
Local prep teams began practice
On the local high school fields, meanwhile, defending Humboldt-Del Norte League boys champion Fortuna will look to continue its recent dominance, although the Huskies will have some notable players to replace this year.
The Huskies have enjoyed a glorious run in recent years, winning back-to-back league titles the past two seasons as well as a North Coast Section championship in 2016.
Arcata, McKinleyville, and Eureka should all be in the mix this season as well.
In girls’ soccer, Eureka is the defending league champion, while Fortuna is the defending NCS Division-I champion.
Arcata, which finished just a half win behind Eureka in a close fought league championship, should also be in the mix this fall.