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Falcons Could be Much Improved

Better talent base has soccer team hopeful.

Over its first two years as a program, the Briar Woods High boys’ soccer team has struggled to win games. And that is quite understandable because the Falcons have been made up of mostly underclassmen competing in a tough Dulles District made up of teams with older and physically bigger and stronger players.

But Briar Woods, in just its third year as a school, should see improvement on the soccer field this spring as its personnel is more experienced and game ready.

"I think we will definitely be more competitive," said second year head coach Francois Bernard. "I see more speed, more strength and more discipline. They’re more organized and understand the game more."

Bernard was a Briar Woods’ assistant coach two years ago when the Falcons, made up of freshmen and sophomore players, won one game. Last year, with Bernard as the team’s head coach, Briar Woods again won one game, that coming against Park View, and also tied a contest against Freedom.

But overall, Briar Woods was an improved ball club last year. In seven of their losses in 2007, the Falcons were within two goals of their opponent.

This season could see even more improvement.

"We have more maturity and five seniors this year," said Bernard. "And we have good freshmen coming along. In the future, we will be better."

<b>THIS SEASON</b>, Bernard and his players are not quite sure what to expect. True, the Falcons, across the board, have more talent. But the team will need to play with confidence in the tough Dulles District. A few early wins could do wonders for Briar Woods, which opens its new season this Friday night at district opponent Broad Run.

"I think they’re kind of curious about what will happen because they played well last year," said Bernard, who said the ‘07 squad did not have a lot to show for in its improved play as far as wins go. "They remember they had seven games that were close to being a win or a tie. They believe they’ll be competitive [this season]. I believe they can do better."

This year’s team captains are senior midfielder Jas Sanghera, junior midfielder Matt Magnotti, junior midfielder Mike Arthur and T.J. Liebler.

Other key players to keep an eye on this season include senior midfielder Justin Dilloretta, sophomore goalie Eren Terkes, a returning starter, and senior defender Frank Ng.

"I think with the speed we’ve added and our [increased] experience, we can surprise a few teams here and there," said Bernard.