When you play in the super competitive Bay league you expect challenges. That’s what happened to one of the best Culver City boys’ soccer teams in the last 10 years. With one game to play at press time the Centaurs are hoping to advance to the prestigious CIF playoffs next week. Culver City placed third in the Bay league with a 2-2-1 league record. Their overall record is 6-5-4. If this was a regular high school soccer season the Centaurs would be a lock to make the playoffs but because of the pandemic the season was cut short and who knows what the future holds. One thing the head coach Michael Castillo does knows is this team has talent. “This team is a mixed bag of talent,’ said Castillo last Friday night after their 2-0 victory over Peninsula at Culver City. “This is the most talented team that I have ever coached. I have had these boys since middle school. These are an amazing set of boys.” This senior heavy team keeps the coaches on their toes. Sometimes in high school the hardest players to coach are seniors because they have one foot in high school and the other foot is about to step into a whole different world. “To get 16 senior personalities to jell together sometimes is easy but at the same time it can be really difficult,” said Castillo. “It all depends on what side of the bed they wake up on.” Coaching talented players is a special challenge but if you can find the correct chemistry like the Los Angeles Rams did, the journey can be unique. “Overall once we have our sights in mind, we can achieve something special,” said Castillo. “We had some bumps in the road this season. We had some close losses against some Division 1 schools, and we are Division 3. “If we can get into the playoffs, we have a really good chance to advance.
I think these boys deserve it but most importantly I want them to learn the lessons that are right in front of them” Castillo has coached at the Culver City Middle school and high school for the last 10 years and he feels like he has grown as a coach and teacher of young men. “Realizing what’s important. We have these boys for just a few years, but we are going to be here for quite a while. We want to make the best of their time. We tell the kids after your time at Culver City what comes next. What are your options. We tell them to look at their academics and as well as soccer. We are here to create young men.” One of the players that has improved over the years is Kenny Lee. “He is one of the toughest defenders that you will ever come up against,” said Castillo. “He has the passion and the competitive spirit.” Lee appears to enjoy every minute of being a high school soccer player. He’s been playing soccer since he was three years old. “What makes me good is all of the people around me. We are a solid defensive unit. We make each other better and we cover for each other.” Lee is looking forward to playing soccer in college. Team captain Matt Solis is another player that Castillo and assistant coach Edward Dono is counting on if they make the playoffs. “With our players we want to go as far as this team allows us,” said Castillo. “We have everything we need to be successful if we get everyone on the same page. If we are able to do that, we should make a deep run in the playoffs.”