Looking to fortify his defense, Chris Golden didn’t have to think too hard about who to turn to. The Greenport High School boys soccer coach asked one of his most versatile players, Eduardo Sanchez, to change positions.
Sanchez, who is heading into his fourth year as a varsity starter, was an All-League pick last year, playing as a midfielder and forward. This coming season Sanchez will bring his skills with him into the central defense, where he will play alongside the likes of Oscar Tomas and Jason Cruz.
“He’s going to be more of a defensive player this year,” Golden said of Sanchez. “That’s where we need him. He’s the type of kid that will play wherever the team needs. We’re going to rely on him in the back, just to give us some composure back there and some stability.”
Playing defense isn’t exactly foreign to Sanchez. He usually plays as a central defensive midfielder for his club team. “I’ll get used to it more and more,” he said.
Tomas welcomes the new company on the back line, saying: “It will help us. … He’s pretty fast, so he will be a great asset to have in the back. He’s a well-rounded player because he can shoot the ball in midfield and he can come back and play defense with us and if he has to, he can go up top and score.”
Sanchez and Tomas are two of Greenport’s four seniors, midfielders Ben Bracken and Remi Droskoski being the others. Golden calls them “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.” Those four seniors take 10 years of varsity experience with them into this season.
“Us four, we really have to step it up and make a difference,” Sanchez said during a break in Tuesday morning’s practice. “Time flies. I’m a senior now and it’s just crazy.”
The Porters, who last made the playoffs five years ago, are coming off a 2-12 season in which they were outscored, 58-19. They started six freshmen.
It’s possible, though, that Greenport could be on the rise. Golden said the Porters are on the cusp of turning the corner and being competitive.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids that came up from travel teams,” Droskoski said. “They’ve been playing their whole lives, so they already have a lot of skill and a lot of chemistry with each other.”
Sanchez figures prominently in the team’s plans.
“He’s a very technical player, very smart, plays the game kind of at his own pace,” Golden said. “He’s at the pinnacle of his career. This is his team, really. We’ll see where we go.”
Sanchez said: “I just want to have a solid season. I just want to win games. That’s what I want. I want to make it to the playoffs, and hopefully my teammates’ mindset is the same.”
Photo caption: Eduardo Sanchez is being repositioned to center back in order to solidify Greenport’s defense. (Credit: Garret Meade)