Most coaches are happy to have one dynamic, game-changing playmaker on the roster. Richland soccer coach Matt Snow is blessed to have a pair of them, and it happens that they're related.
Brothers Jorge and Cristian Cuadra are roughly two years apart, but only one year separates them academically, so they begin their second year of playing together for the Rebels, who were painfully eliminated from the playoffs last year by Plano in a shootout in the regional quarterfinal round.
Players to watch in 2013
Enrique Rangel, Birdville, Sr. -- The 11-4A MVP last season is a four-year starter. Last season he scored 16 goals with 14 assists.
John McGuffin, Birdville, Jr. -- The 11-4A goalkeeper of the year last season as a sophomore. Allowed .38 goals per game and has the skill to play in the field if needed.
Israel Bautista, Brewer, Sr. -- The 12-4A MVP last season.
Nestor Martinez, Diamond Hill-Jarvis, Jr. -- Scored 37 goals as a sophomore last season to earn District 14-4A MVP honors.
Jorge Alarcon, Western Hills, Sr. -- The 13-4A MVP last season. "Jorge is the best player in Fort Worth; end of story," says Cougars coach Matt Collins.
Tommy Price, Carroll, Sr. -- Not a lot of offensive statistical production, but a hard-nosed player who was named a regional All-American at the club level last season.
Kristen Schultz, Aledo, Jr. -- Earned 12-4A defensive player of the year honors last season.
Stephanie Sorrells, Birdville, Jr. -- Named to Star-Telegram Super Team last season. Scored 17 goals with 8 assists as a defensive midfielder.
Marchelle Davis, Nelson, Sr. -- University of Texas commit scored 33 goals with 12 assists last season as the 11-4A offensive player of the year.
Jolyn Noble, Crowley, Jr. -- Multisport star earned 16-4A defensive MVP honors last season as a sophomore.
Taylor Sisson, Paschal, Soph. -- Was the District 4-5A co-goalkeeper of the year last season.
McKayla Paulson, Mansfield, Jr. -- Was the District 5-5A co-offensive MVP last year. Has talent and ability to play multiple positions and is sometimes utilized at center back.
Sophie Groff, Carroll, Sr. -- Scored 32 goals with 10 assists last season to earn a spot on the Star-Telegram Super Team.
So as the 2013 UIL soccer season begins today with tournaments throughout the area, this dynamic duo, which accounted for more than 50 goals between them in 2012, hopes to lead Richland to where they feel the team should have been last season: the state tournament.
"Nobody likes going out in a shootout, especially when you feel like you've won the game and dominated the game," Snow said. "It's just not the way you want to go out."
That loss has ignited a fire in the players that return this season, especially the Cuadra brothers.
"We want to become a better team than last year and go far. We want to help everybody on the team to be better players," said Cristian, who was the Star-Telegram Boys Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2012 after netting 30 goals and 16 assists.
Matching last season's 23-1-1 regular season record will be a challenge for the Rebels, who have seen significant turnover from the 2012 roster.
"I think talent-wise we're better than we were last year," Snow said. "But we don't have the chemistry we had last year. Hopefully, we can get that going and make a run again."
It certainly benefits the Rebels to have Cristian and Jorge, who was the District 6-5A MVP last season. While the entire team is still working to find the right chemistry, that's not an issue between the brothers.
"It's fun [to play with my younger brother] because we know each other," Jorge said. "We combine together well. I know where he's going to go and he knows where I'm going to go. We have the same mind."
Snow agrees there's a synergistic relationship between the siblings.
"It's remarkable watching them," he said. "Cristian will make a run while Jorge is going one way, and he'll just turn and hit a ball that goes right to Cristian's feet and it's like, how did he even know he was there? I just let them play. I let them do their thing. They do a great job of leading everyone else."
After last season's impressive production, the Cuadra brothers, who are from El Salvador, will certainly be no secret to other teams. Still, Snow isn't sure there's a game plan that can stifle them both.
"It's going to be very difficult to stop both of them," he said. "We've come up against teams that pack it in, or double team Cristian. But believe it or not, it's almost impossible. He still gets through two people. I've never seen anyone stop them both. And that's what's huge about having two of them; one of them can have an off night or get shut down and the other is going full steam. Plus, we have other playmakers, so it's not just like you can shut these two down and we're done."
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