Last year marked a changing of the guard in California and Texas.
With a majority of the Development Academy players passing on high school soccer last season, there was a dramatic shift in high school soccer that saw the perennial suburban powers giving way to mostly Hispanic squads winning titles in California and Texas.
Look for more of the same this year.
Below is the ESR Preseason Boys’ Soccer Winter State Rankings for the 2012-13 season, although it should be noted the high school season has started in several winter states.
The first ESR Top 50 will be released Wednesday, based on the preseason rankings below. The second Winter ESR Top 50, which will be Tuesday, Dec. 11, will reflect matches played and have win-loss records for the ranked teams.
Here is a quick overview of the winter-playing states:
CALIFORNIA: Paramount returns 14 players, including six starters from last year’s squad, making it a preseason favorite. … Millikan is a perennial 20-win team and the Division I defending champs could be in position to repeat. … De La Salle and Watsonville are the clear favorites in NorCal, and that comes as no surprise as both are defending section champions. … The most difficult area to gauge this season is San Diego. There are few all-league performers returning from last year, and a few have opted to give up high school soccer, anyway.
FLORIDA: Sunshine State teams finished 1-2-3 last year, and they will start that way this season. Montverde Academy has five seniors committed to NCAA Division I programs. Cypress Bay and Boca Raton were able to keep their Academy players for another run at state glory. It might be interesting to watch the emergence of Northern Florida programs, which historically have not fared well. Right now, it seems the best soccer is played at the extremes of the state — south in the Fort Lauderdale region and north in Tallahassee and Jacksonville.
TEXAS: Texas does not start play until January. Elsik, a Houston-area program that had a breakthrough season in 2012, returns four first-team all-district players. Defending champ Sharyland and Brownsville Rivera hail from an emerging part of the state. Dallas-area programs Coppell and McKinney Boyd appear to be the favorites in DFW.
OTHERS: A strong showing by Jesuit (La.) in Mississippi gives Louisiana’s top programs the nod over Mississippi this season. Brother Martin’s early win over Jesuit will earn the team a Top 25 spot this year. In the West, Brophy Prep (Ariz.) could be a national power if Virginia commit Riggs Lennon returns for his senior season. Hawaii has started its preseason, but official, league matches have yet to start. Defending champ Mililani (Hawaii) gets the nod.
PRESEASON STATE RANKINGS
California: 1. Paramount, 2. Millikan, 3. San Clemente, 4. Los Alamitos, 5. Watsonville, 6. Loyola, 7. De La Salle, 8. Sunny Hills, 9. Servite, 10. Capistrano Valley, 11. Marina, 12. Aliso Niguel 13. San Pasqual, 14. Santa Ana Valley, 15. Crescenta Valley, 16. Torrey Pines, 17. Ventura, 18. Richmond, 19. San Ramon Valley, 20. Alisal, 21. Santa Ana Foothill, 22. Bellarmine Prep, 23. Mater Dei, 24. Century, 25. Buchanan, 26. El Rancho, 27. St. Augustine, 28. Poway, 29. JSerra, 30. Scripps Ranch.
Florida: 1. Montverde Academy, 2. Cypress Bay, 3. Boca Raton, 4. St. Thomas Aquinas, 5. American Heritage-Plantation, 6. Bolles School, 7. Fleming Island, 8. Miami Sunset, 9. Gulliver Prep, 10. American Heritage-Delray, 11. Ransom Everlades, 12. Tampa Jesuit, 13 Episcopal, 14. Monarch, 15. Lawton Chiles.
Texas: 1. Alief Elsik, 2. Sharyland, 3. Coppell, 4. McKinney Boyd, 5. Marcus, 6. Plano, 7. Klein, 8. Jesuit College Prep, 9. Westlake, 10. McNeil, 11. Brownsville Rivera, 12. San Antonio Reagan, 13. The Woodlands, 14. San Antonio Churchill, 15. Langham Creek.
Arizona: 1. Brophy Prep, 2. Hamilton, 3. Catalina Foothills, 4. Salpointe Catholic, 5. Gilbert.
Louisiana: 1. Brother Martin, 2. New Orleans Jesuit, 3. Lafayette, 4. St. Thomas More, 5. St. Paul’s.
Hawaii: 1. Mililani, 2. Iolani, 3. Kapolei.
Mississippi: 1. Ocean Springs, 2. Madison Central, 3. Biloxi.