Thunder preseason carries some serious weight

Sierra Foothill League has a different look
By: Jim Linsdau
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ROCKLIN– One might think the Rocklin High boys soccer team’s 4-5-0 preseason record would leave Thunder fans wringing their hands as Sierra Foothill League play begins, but it would be wise to take a closer look.


Although Rocklin is at the bottom of the SFL preseason standings, their pre-league schedule was the toughest in conference. Only Oak Ridge (2-1-1) even came close to the Thunder’s strength of schedule.


The combined record of the five teams Rocklin lost to was 40-11-2 and no team has beaten them by more than two goals. The teams they defeated have a collective winning percentage of .543 and the Thunder has outscored those teams by a combined score of 11-0.


“We’ve said in each and every game that we would be undefeated if we went off on these shot opportunities that we get in a game. We’re just struggling to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Rocklin head coach J.J. Barnette. “I only have three seniors this year, so we’re kind of a young squad in not having those six, seven, eight seniors that all can be leaders and kind of contribute in a different way.”


It might appear the Thunder has a leadership problem, but Barnette said that was not the case. He said the team’s chemistry is good and the seniors he does have set a high standard both on and off the field.


Barnette has 14 juniors on his squad of 20 and no freshmen. And of those 14 juniors, nine played varsity as sophomores.


“I have a good group of kids that work well together,” said Barnette. “We have one more tune-up game before league starts, with Ponderosa, but I think overall we kind of have a good feel of who can play well and who plays well together. Yeah, I would say we’re pretty much finalized.”


The Thunder opens league play Friday at Folsom. They return Wednesday to host Granite Bay and Del Oro next Friday.