WHS graduate prepares Cedar Hill for season

Thomas McNamara entering fifth year as boys soccer coach at rival school

Daily Light report
Thomas McNamara

CEDAR HILL — Thomas McNamara is optimistic about the Cedar Hill High School boys soccer team this winter.

“The leadership is there, the work ethic is there, and the mindset is right,” said McNamara, who begins his fifth season as the Longhorns head coach. “We are senior-heavy with 10 seniors, after having four seniors on last season’s team. Every one of our seniors will play a role. In the past, the team’s been built around one or two players. This is a year where we’ll ask a lot out of everyone.”

Senior striker/midfielder Troy Rhoades enters his fourth varsity season, while midfielders Luis Sanchez (junior) and Julian Bravo (senior) will be playing their second year of varsity.

Sophomore defender Jacobo Valdez played varsity as a freshman.

Sanchez scored three goals and had an assist last season, and senior Alexander Lugo finished with two goals.

Senior goalkeeper Christian Kelly returns for his third varsity season.

The Longhorns are looking to return to the playoffs for the first time in more than five years.

Cedar Hill is scheduled to have four scrimmages this month before opening the regular season at 6:30 p.m. on January 4 at Corsicana – where McNamara had previously coached. The Longhorns will play their first home game of the season (Senior Night) on January 19 vs. Burleson Centennial – a team that they defeated last season, 1-0.

McNamara said the success of the JV team is another reason for optimism.

The big question mark will be the COVID-19 Pandemic. Other CHISD programs have had to quarantine or cancel games due to COVID.

“Everyone has to be prepared, whether it’s seniors, freshmen or team managers,” McNamara said.

Last season, the Longhorns had their final two matches canceled due to COVID, including the Battle of Belt Line, Round 2. Cedar Hill tied DeSoto, 1-1, in the only meeting between the teams last February.

Cedar Hill defeated Dallas Inspired Vision, 5-3, last season and also tied Burleson and Fort Worth North Side.

The team practices social distancing, and players wear masks during practice.

McNamara, who teaches Geography, played soccer at Waxahachie High School and at St. Gregory’s University – which was an NAIA program in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

He said it’s always fun when the Longhorns play his alma mater, WHS, which is a District 11-6A opponent. Last season, Cedar Hill lost a close 2-1 game to Waxahachie, which contended for a playoff spot before the season was canceled.