Last season, the Woodside High School girls’ soccer team went unbeaten and was crowned Central Coast Section Division I co-champs. But all of that matters naught to Jose Navarrete.
“[There’s] nothing that happened last year [that] we can take on the field this year that’s gonna help,” said the 51-year-old Navarrete, who is entering his 15th season coaching the Wildcats. “Last year was last year. This is totally new.”
Coming off a remarkable 19-0-4 season that capped Woodside’s first CCS title since 1977, Navarrete’s team is off to another hot start at 4-0-1 this season with Peninsula Athletic League play set to kick off Jan. 7. The Wildcats have eight returning starters, three of whom are seniors.
But if the Wildcats hope to turn in another title-winning season, they’ll have to manage without key, yet injured, senior duo Alexa Silvestri and Lindsay Ringman.
“I still think we’re strong — maybe a little stronger than last year — because we certainly have more experience and more depth,” Navarrete said. “And the main thing is that our girls still look like they’re very, very hungry. They look like they were not very satisfied with the final outcome of that last game.”
That last game for the Wildcats last year was for the CCS Division I title against Santa Teresa. It ended in a double overtime in a 0-0 tie, forcing both schools to share the crown.
“It wasn’t a total disappointment. We just thought that in that final game, we could’ve played a little better and we could’ve got a little better result,” Navarrete said. “But you just can’t complain about a season like that.”
In a new year, you still won’t find him complaining. Despite his two seniors, Silvestri and Ringman, going down on back-to-back days in the offseason playing with their club teams, Navarrete’s has placed trust in his reserves.
Junior forward Allie Miller, who impressed in last season’s CCS playofs, filled the void left vacant by Silvestri, while a group of freshmen is tasked with replacing midfielder Ringman.
But before taking aim at another CCS title run, the Wildcats will have to conquer their rivals in the PAL.
“They’re always so prepared for us,” said Navarrete, noting Burlingame and Menlo-Atherton as teams to watch out for. “In the PAL, if you take half a game off, you’re going to be in a little bit of trouble because the teams are very, very competitive.” Navarrete believes his team has the goods to top the PAL. But the Wildcats may need something else, too.
“I think we have the desire,” he said. “And the thing that any team needs to get there is probably a little bit of luck. And we had our share last year. We were very fortunate that the ball bounced our way a lot of the time. And if you don’t have that, even good teams don’t get that far — even the best teams don’t get that far.”