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Arkansas high school boys soccer Top 25 rankings (3/18/2024)

The first SBLive Arkansas Top 25 boys soccer rankings of the season

The high school soccer season has been underway for three weeks. As schools head for spring break, here are SBLive’s first Arkansas high school rankings with recent results and the season outlook provided by coaches from questionnaires that were returned to the SBLive staff. 


2024 RECORD: 7-3-1

LAST WEEK: def. Greenbrier 5-0; vs. Alma, canceled

NEXT: vs. Mountain Home, March 26

2023 RECORD: 24-2-2, Class 5A state champions

HEAD COACH Jared Fuller (20 years, 384-78-11)

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Cyclones are in position to win a third consecutive Class 5A state championship with three players — senior defender Charlie Payne, senior midfielder Arius Garcia and senior midfielder Andrew Garcia — who earned all-state honors last year. In addition, the Cyclones have five players who’ve been part of the past two state championship teams — senior defender Max Wilson, senior defender Gerardo Jimenez, Payne, senior defender Matthew Gaajardo and junior midfielder Cade Shambler. Sophomore Rodrigo Nunez will be the team’s goalkeeper after protecting the net as a freshman. Fuller said his team has plenty of depth, size, strength, discipline, leadership, defending and scoring. He said a tough non-conference schedule should help them get things figured out. He said his team can’t be satisfied and complacent and avoid injuries.


2024 RECORD: 6-1

LAST WEEK: def. Little Rock Southwest 5-0; def. Warren 4-0; def. North Little Rock 8-0.

NEXT: at Cabot, March 26.

2023 RECORD: 20-3, Class 6A state champions

HEAD COACH: Matthew Page (11 years, 125-47-9)

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Wampus Cats, who’ve won consecutive Class 6A state championships, return 8 starters including Tyson Turnage, who earned all-conference honors while scoring 11 goals and 3 assists last year and Ian Booty, who earned all-state honors with 6 goals and 4 assists last year. The big challenge is replacing Will Childers, who was Gatorade Player of the Year and 2-time all-state goal keeper Jackson Tucker.


2024 RECORD: 3-2-1

LAST WEEK: lost to Broken Arrow (Okla.) 2-1

NEXT GAME: at Fort Smith Southside March 26

2023 RECORD: 12-3-3 (lost 3-2 to Conway in 6A state championship game)

HEAD COACH: Donald Beeler, 17th season

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs, bring back seven players from a team that lost to Conway in the state championship game. Returning for the Bulldogs are senior goalkeeper Herman Ito; junior defender Brandon Barron; senior defender Saul Acosta; junior midfielder Bryan Bartolo; senior midfielder Johnny Alcala; senior forward Johnathan Calderon and sophomore forward Javier Rodriguez. Head coach Donald Peeler likes his team’s experience and depth. He is concerned that his team is undersized. He said the key to success is converting chances, avoiding injuries and limiting set piece opportunities for opponents.


2024 RECORD: 3-2

LAST WEEK: def. Fort Smith Southside 4-0; at Tulsa Union, canceled

NEXT: vs Rogers, March 26

2023 RECORD: 12-4-3 (Lost 2-1 to Springdale in 6A semifinals)

HEAD COACH: Brent Crenshaw, sixth year

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs have two returning starters in senior midfielder Blasé Duell and senior defender Sebastian Maranda. Freshman Aidan McDermott starts in goal. Head coach Brent Crenshaw said he has a good group that is coachable and plays as a team. HIs big concern is his team doesn’t have much varsity experience and struggles to score.


2024 RECORD: 5-0

LAST WEEK: def. Sylvan Hills 6-1; vs. Vilonia, canceled

NEXT: at Little Rock Parkview, March 26

2023 RECORD: 15-1-2 (Lost 2-1 to Van Buren in 5A quarterfinals)

HEAD COACH: Julian Owen

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Bruins finally allowed a goal in a 6-1 victory over Sylvan Hills on Tuesday. Josh Montgomery leads the Bruins with eight goals.


2024 RECORD: 4-4

LAST WEEK: Lost to Jenks (Okla.) 2-1

NEXT: at Fayetteville, March 26

2023 RECORD: 11-5-5 (lost 4-3 to Conway in 6A quarterfinals)

HEAD COACH: Leo Hernandez, second year

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Mounties just about everyone from last year’s team that reached the state quarterfinals. Head coach Leo Hernandez said Class 6A is very competitive where “anyone can beat anyone on any given day and one mistake can cost you a match.”


2024 RECORD: 3-2-2

LAST WEEK: def. Cabot 3-0; tied Bryant 1-1

NEXT: at Jonesboro, March 26

2023 RECORD: 12-5-4 (lost 2-1 to Springdale in 6A semifinals)

HEAD COACH Ryan Lawrence, 16th year

SEASON OUTLOOK: Head coach Ryan Lawrence likes his team’s “technically solid players” who are intelligent. However, he is concerned about his team’s size compared to other Class 6A teams. He said the key is to maintain tactual discipline for 80 minutes and let the players do their thing.


2024 RECORD: 6-3

LAST WEEK: Tied Bishop Kelley (Okla.) 1-1

NEXT: vs. Bentonville West, April 2

2023 RECORD: 7-5-1 (Did not qualify for 6A state tournament)

HEAD COACH: Christhian Saavedra

SEASON OUTLOOK: The War Eagles have challenged themselves against Oklahoma teams going 1-2-1 against teams with a combined 7-5 record. They’ve also distinguished themselves with wins over Little Rock Central and Russellville along with a loss to Searcy. 6A-West competition awaits after spring break.


2024 RECORD: 3-1-1

LAST WEEK: def. Greenwood 6-1

NEXT GME: at Alma, March 26

2023 RECORD: 14-6-3 (Lost 2-1 to Hot Springs Lakeside in 5A semifinals)

HEAD COACH: Nathan Almond, 23rd year

The Pointers return seven starters from a team that reached the semifinals a year. Coming back are senior centerback Edgar Recinos, senior midfielder Tony Gonzalez, senior midfielder Luis Herrera, senior goalkeeper E.J. Bonilla, junior fullback Jahaziel Banda, junior fullback Eli Davis, and junior wing Brandon Mendez. Head coach Nathan Almond said his team’s strengths are experience from the starters and those who played quality minutes last year. He said his team’s area of concern are seeing what sophomores Carter Kelley and Ko Phalakhone do at centerback and striker. He said the key to success re staying healthy and maintaining clean possession of the ball and defending.

COACH SAID: “We are bringing back a lot of experience from a team that made a deep run in the tournament last year. I believe that my back line is quality, and we will be difficult to score on. We struggled to score goals last season, so that has been a point of emphasis in our off-season training. I believe our finishing has improved. The 5A-West is a tough conference and Russellville is that standard for the conference. They are well coached and always prepared. We need to be much improved to compete with them.” — Head coach Nathan Almond.


2024 RECORD: 6-0

LAST WEEK: def. Vilonia 2-0; vs. Little Rock Parkview 8-0

NEXT: vs. Springdale Har-Ber March 25

2023 RECORD: 13-4-2 (lost 2-0 to Lake Hamilton in Class 5A first round)

HEAD COACH: Barry McCaskill (14 years, 188-62-11)

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Warriors are expected to contend for the Class 5A state title. They have two returning all-state returners in senior midfielder Joey Schroeder and senior Matthew Lucien. In addition, they have seven returning all-conference players in junior goalkeeper Jack Allen, junior defender Keenan Page, senior defender Sam Blocker, junior defender Richard Hall III, junior midfielder Parker Reddin, senior midfielder Matthew Thompson and senior midfielder Gabe Schroeder.


2024 RECORD: 7-2

LAST WEEK: def. Batesville 4-1

NEXT: vs. Heber Springs March 25

2023 RECORD: 17-3-1 (lost 4-2 to Mountain Home in the 5A first round)

HEAD COACH Walter King (18th year, 348-57)

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Lions return seven starters led by senior all-state striker Ervin Shala (18 goals and 7 assists), junior all-conference left wing David Montano (nine goals and four assists), sophomore right wing Cameron McMullin, sophomore all-conference midfielder Cannon LaForce (10 goals and 4 assists), junior midfielder Hayden Lee (nine goals and four assists), sophomore all-star center back Cooper Jones and sophomore right back Ethan Wyatt. Junior Adrian Perez is the goalkeeper. Head coach Walter King likes his team’s experience and skill, but is concerned about youth and depth on the defensive end. He said the team must get better as the season goes along.

COACH SAID: “I’m returning everyone except for two that graduated. We’re a little more experienced this year but still young, having only two seniors. The conference should be a battle between the top end of teams. The team to beat again is probably the Russellville Cyclones.” — Head coach Walter King.


2024 RECORD: 2-0-5

LAST WEEK: tied Jonesboro 1-1; tied Little Rock Catholic 2-2

NEXT: vs. Little Rock Central, March 26

2023 RECORD: 11-6-5 (Lost 1-0 to Springdale Har-Ber in 6A first round)

HEAD COACH: Rick Friday

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Hornets have played a tough non-conference schedule getting an 8-1 win vs. Class 5A Benton and ties vs. No. 1 Russellville, Bentonville West and Little Rock Catholic.


2024 RECORD: 3-0-1

LAST WEEK: def. Lake Hamilton 1-0; vs. Sheridan Thursday

NEXT GAME: vs. El Dorado, March 26

2023 RECORD: 18-3-2 (Class 5A runner up, lost to Russellville 1-0)

HEAD COACH: Ben Pettigrew, second year

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Rams have five returning starters back from a team that reached the state finals a year ago. The returning starters are junior fullback Denver Davidson; junior fullback Sean Strozyk; senior all-conference fullback Jalen Nelson; senior all-conference midfielder Diego Corona; senior all-conference striker Caleb Villines. The goalkeeper is junior Robert Bledsoe. Head coach Ben Pettigrew said his team’s strengths are that it is a hard-working team with strong leadership and depth in the midfield. With the loss of six starters from last year, he is concerned about having consistent goal scorers. He said his team will need to out work opponents, score off set pieces, stay healthy and be organized defensively.


2024 RECORD: 5-1-2

LAST WEEK: def. Harding Academy 5-1; tied Brookland 0-0

NEXT: vs. Jonesboro Westside, March 27

2023 RECORD: 14-2-4 (Lost 2-1 to Clarksville in extra time in Class 4A quarterfinals)

HEAD COACH: Jeff Risner (Fourth year, 38-17-5)

The Senators, according to head coach Jeff Risner, bring back plenty of experience, defense and speed with seven returning starters led by sophomore goalkeeper Jesus Cervantes, who had 12 shutouts while earning all-state honors Other returnees include senior defender and 4-year starter Winn Conner, junior defender and 3-year starter Pedro Santaclara; junior defender Miguel Castro; senior midfielder Jose Huerta, who earned all-conference honors; senior midfielder Titus Fechtelkotter, who returns after missing last season with an injury; striker John Tait who had 12 goals in six matches before getting injured in March.

COACH SAID: “Having spoken to good friends around the state, this may be the year we sit be as wide open as we ever have. Any of the top 10 teams could win it if they can stay healthy and play well. The drop off seems to be there between the top 10 and the rest of the pack.” — Head coach Jeff Risner.


2024 RECORD: 4-1

LAST WEEK: def. Mena 4-0; def. Bauxite 6-0

NEXT: vs. Arkadelphia, March 29

2023 RECORD: 19-2 (Class 4A state champions)

HEAD COACH: Stephen Sloan, 17th year

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Leopards have four returning starters from their state championship team: senior midfielder Angel Gonzalez, who lead the team in assists; senior all-conference defender Angel Abarca; junior all-conference defender Rodrigo Garcia; junior forward Uriel Camacena. In addition, the Leopards have senior all-conference midfielder Jared Munoz, who was the one of the team’s top reserves last year. The goalkeeper is expected to be either senior Landon Martinez or senior Julio Sotelo. Head coach Stephen Sloan likes his team’s depth, but has concerns about inexperience. He said the key is to keep showing improvement and gaining experience early in the season.

COACH SAID: “Across the board, 4A soccer has drastically improved over the years. We hope to have another good year and hope to make another run at state. We enjoy the competitiveness of the south conference and how it makes us better as the season progresses.” — Head coach Stephen Sloan


2024 RECORD: 4-2-1

LAST WEEK: tied Fort Smith Northside 1-1; lost 2-1 to Farmington; vs. Greene County Tech, canceled

NEXT: vs. Danville, March 25

2023 RECORD: 14-6-1 (Lost 5-2 to De Queen in 4A state finals)

HEAD COACH: Don Earnest, 10th year

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Sand Lizards return nine starters from a team that reached the state finals including senior midfielder Michael Lian, who was an all-star selection last year; sophomore midfielder Jesus Garcia, another all-state selection; junior midfielder/defender Brian Castro, who earned all-conference honors last year; senior defender Miguel Diaz, an all-conference selection; junior midfielder/forward Alex Campos, an all-conference selection; junior midfielder/forward Kevin Abaraca, an all-conference selection; senior forward Ernesto Ayala; and junior goalkeeper Irvin Ambrosia, an all-conference selection. Head coach Don Earnest likes his team’s experience and depth, but is concerned bout his team’s size. He said the key is to stay healthy and making improvement.

COACH SAID: “The 4A West is very strong in the top four. De Queen should be the favorites as they are the defending champions. 4A is always a tough group to get through.” — Head coach Don Earnest


2024 RECORD: 9-1-2

LAST WEEK: def. Jonesboro Westside 8-0; tied Joe T. Robinson 0-0

NEXT: at Harding Academy, March 28

2023 RECORD: 18-3-1 (Lost to Berryville on penalty kicks in 4A quarterfinals)

HEAD COACH: Brandon Parsons (11th year, 87-72-6)

The Bearcats return junior midfielder Carlos Mata, who was an all-state selection. Head coach Brandon Parsons likes his team technical skill and goalkeeper Dot Aloh. Parsons is concerned about his team’s youth with six sophomores in the lineup. He said the key is having good health and consistent goal scoring. He said the team is dealing with the death of sophomore Adam Ramirez, who passed away on Feb. 4. Parsons said Brookland is trying to replace 52 goals and 32 assists from last year’s team with the graduation of Gabe Guimond and Cesar Alvarado. He said freshman Juan Mata will have a chance to have a big impact this year at striker.


2024 RECORD: 5-1-3

LAST WEEK: lost to Hot Springs Lakeside 1-0; vs. Hamburg Thursday

NEXT vs. Benton March 26

2023 RECORD: 13-5-4 (Lost 6-2 to Russellville in 5A quarterfinals)

HEAD COACH: Cito Dixon, seventh year

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Wolves bring back 21 players after reaching the quarterfinals a year ago including senior midfielder Miguel Salazar, senior defender Allan Rios and senior defender Amos Joel Devine. Sophomore Tristan Morales is the team’s goalkeeper.


2024 RECORD: 4-1-1

THIS WEEK: def. Hot Springs 3-2; def. Pine Bluff 3-0

NEXT: at Lake Hamilton March 26

2023 RECORD: 10-5–4 (lost 3-0 to Pulaski Academy in the first round)

HEAD COACH: Bobby Winn

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Panthers return forward Junior Rodriguez, who had 11 goals and 1 assist; midfielder Isaac Legate, who had three goals and five assists and has returning starters in center back Lane Belew. Jordan Ashley is the team’s goalkeeper.


2024 RECORD: 1-2-2

LAST WEEK: lost to Benton 3-2; vs. El Dorado, canceled

NEXT GAME: vs. Texarkana, Mach 26

2023 RECORD: 14-4-4 (Lost 2-0 to Russellville in Class 5A semifinals)

HEAD COACH: Geoffrey Hedrick, seventh year

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Trojans are inexperienced with three seniors in the lineup in defender Danny De La Cruz, midfielders Joseph Recinos and Pablo Lozano. However, they have five juniors in midfielders Kevin Dubs, Brayan Rios, defenders JR Reyes, Cesar Salcedo and midfielder Kevin Gonzales. Sophomore Emmanuel Leos will start in goal. Head coach Geoffrey Hedrick likes his team’s depth and said how well they communicate and execute will be the key to success.


2024 RECORD: 6-3

LAST WEEK: lost 6-1 to Van Buren; def. Harrison 1-0

NEXT GAME: vs. Siloam Springs March 26

2023 RECORD: 6-7-1, didn’t qualify for state tournament

HEAD COACH: Tyler Woods (Sixth season, 36-36-9)

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs have a chance to qualify for the state tournament after missing it in 2023. They return seven starters including goalkeeper Brandon Coston, who earned all-conference honors in 2023 after earning all-state in 2022. Other returners include senior defender Carson Hobbs, senior defender Alex Pittman, senior defender Bodey Steinfeldt, who was an all-conference selection last year; sophomore midfielder Christian Campbell; senior midfielder Tucker Wooten; junior midfielder Tucker Wooten; and junior midfielder David Coggin. Head coach Tyler Woods said his team’s strengths are a solid senior class, experience and goalkeeper. The weaknesses, he said are youth.

COACH SAID: “We’re excited to get the season started this year. We return a lot of guys with experience so that should help. Unfortunately, we play in the toughest conference in the state so we have to play well if we want to get a shot in the state playoffs. Our key players will be our goal keeper — Brandon Coston, our center mid, Tucker Wooten, and our center back — Bodey Steinfeldt. We have a couple freshmen that will make a difference for us this year in Landon Franklin and Reid Pittman. They also give us some depth that we haven’t had in the past. We’ll need them to grow up quickly.” — Head coach Tyler Woods


2024 RECORD; 5-0

LAST WEEK: def. Life Way Christian 7-0; def. Prairie Grove 9-0

NEXT GAME: vs. Lincoln, March 25

2023 RECORD: 16-3-2 (Class 3A state champions)

HEAD COACH: Adam Richter, second year

The Tigers have plenty of returning talent from last year’s state championship team who have been playing together since they were kids. Head coach Adam Richter said they have excellent chemistry. He said the biggest challenge is avoiding overconfidence. He said the key is maintaining a strong work ethic on and off the field.

COACH SAID: “The 3A-West Conference proved to be a tough conference throughout the state last year. I expect the teams to have only gotten better. We had three of four teams in the semifinals and two appear in the finals. The season will be tough if we want to continue to have the same results from last year. As a team, we need to put in the work and have a strong mentality going forward.” — Head coach Adam Richter.


2024 RECORD: 3-2

LAST WEEK: def. Lakeside Lake Village 7-1; def. Maumelle Charter 4-0

NEXT: vs. LISA Academy North March 26

2023 RECORD: 13-4-1 (lost 3-1 to Green Forest in Class 3A semifinals)

HEAD COACH: Billy Sullivan (fifth year, 33-17-6)

The Mustangs have seven starters back including sophomore fullback Max Pullen, sophomore fullback Wyatt Smith; junior fullback Adrian May; junior all-state midfielder Reason Sullivan; sophomore all-state midfielder Avery Brymer; sophomore all-star midfielder Aiden Turner; and junior right-wing Gabriel Colclasure. The goalkeeper is junior Rhett Rabb. Sullivan said his team has a good mix of youth with returning starters and offensive production. He is concerned bout lack of senior experience and leadership. He said the key is team chemistry and finding a consistent mix with his starters and substitutions.

COACH SAID: “We have a good mix of returning talent with some new freshman pieces. Our biggest weakness comes from the lack of any returning player from the Class of 2024. We will not start any seniors at the beginning of the season and may not start any at all, but that could also be a strength. The East Conference will have a lot of parity admits the 1-6 spots and anyone could find themselves challenging for the conference title. 3A feels like a repeat of last year in a lot of ways. Green Forest looks primed to challenge for another state championship and it feels like a lot of the the top teams from last year kept most of their talent.” — Head coach Billy Sullivan.


2024 RECORD: 3-1

LAST WEEK: lost 5-0 to Joe T. Robinson; canceled vs. Jonesboro Westside

NEXT: vs. LISA Academy West, March 26

2023 RECORD: 12-5-2 (Lost 2-0 to Dardanelle in 4A quarterfinals)

HEAD COACH: Caleb Hall (Fifth year, 57-11-4)

The Wildcats bring back plenty of talent in senior all-state midfielder Alex Jones (13 goals, 8 assists); junior all-conference Jacob Wade (9 goals, 3 assists); junior Caleb Johnson (3 goals); junior midfielder Connor Strachan (1 goal and 1 assist); senior all-conference defender Luke Hewitt (1 assist); sophomore all-conference goalkeeper Grant Miller (95 saves). Head coach Caleb Hall said his team’s strengths are the midfielders, goalkeeper and senior class. He is concerned about having two freshmen in the lineup. He said the key to success is control the midfield and develop the attackers.

COACH SAID: “We lost six starters from last year, including three defensive starters. The key for us is going to see how a lot of our reserves from last year can perform as starters. Top to bottom, our conference was the best in 4A last year and I expect it to be that competitive again.” — Head coach Caleb Hall.


2024 RECORD: 4-2-1

LAST WEEK: def. Alma 7-1; vs. Greenbrier, canceled

NEXT GAME: March 26 at Greenwood

2023 RECORD: 3-15-3

HEAD COACH: Craig Moses, second year

SEASON OUTLOOK: The Panthers have four returning starters in sophomore goalkeeper Layne Mason, senior center back Lee Hernandez, sophomore winter Chris Cruz and senior striker Anthony Sandoval. Head coach Craig Moses likes his team’s leadership and attitude with five seniors. He said they have to overcome youth and inexperience with three sophomores in the lineup.

-- Jeff Halpern | @SBLiveArk