Wildfires' soccer: Out of the ashes
Brittany Salveson is on a mission. She’s looking to lead the Foresthill High soccer team to new heights.
In truth, any height is an upgrade for the Wildfires, whose program has had a tough time getting off the ground since starting in 2008.
But Foresthill is the surprise of the Central Valley Christian League this spring, sporting a 2-5-1 overall record and giving league heavyweights Forest Lake and Vacaville Christian some serious competition. There’s even talk of a playoff berth, which was unthinkable after last season produced just one win.
“I really believe we can make the playoffs,” said Salveson, the team’s senior leader. “We’ve just been struggling keeping players.”
The Wildfires have already hurdled some major challenges. In 2009 there was snow on the ground in Foresthill until March and the soccer team didn’t get a single practice in before its first game. The Wildfires have dealt with snow, heavy rain and even hail this spring, but managed to get in plenty of preparation for the season.
Second-year coach Ahmet Ibrahim stressed fitness early on. He had his entire squad run a 10-kilometer race prior to the start of the season. Ibrahim said conditioning is a must for his thin roster, which currently lists 12 healthy players.
“Last season some of the players were walking by the end of the game,” Ibrahim said. “Now they are really committed to playing. The reason we ran the 10K was for fitness, but also for their confidence. They know if they can run a 10K, then playing the game isn’t that hard.”
Foresthill owns wins over CVCL foes Sacramento Waldorf and Delta already this spring. The Wildfires lost a tough 2-1 decision at Vacaville Christian and fell to Forest Lake 4-0 – which was a relatively close game for the Falcons.
Salveson moved from soccer-rich Roseville to Foresthill when she was a seventh grader. She’s seen the program improve rapidly this spring.
“When we first started we had a lot of newcomers that didn’t know the fundamentals,” said Salveson, who plays sweeper and some forward. “Now we’ve had players coming back and we really have a lot of potential.”
Emily Perez and Mariah Quintanilla are outstanding on offense for Foresthill while Salveson and fellow captain Austin Fleming are anchors in the middle of the field.
Ibrahim, who grew up playing soccer in London and is a CYSA instructor for other coaches, is excited about the future of the program.
“The girls have a lot of heart and desire to play the game,” said Ibrahim, an off-campus coach who lives in Roseville. “We may not have the skills or talent of some of the teams out there, but I believe the girls here have a lot more heart.”
Todd Mordhorst’s column runs Sundays in the Journal. Comment online at AuburnJournal.com.