Pete Garcia, Alice Echo-News Journal

The 2007 high school soccer season was rough on the Alice Coyotes.

The Alice boys were young, and to make things harder, the team was in a strong Rio Grande Valley district, which included Raymondville, Mission, Mission Veterans, Roma and Kingsville.

This new year brings a new season, a more experienced squad and renewed optimism.

Second-year coach E.J. McNamara said experience could be the difference between last season and this one.

"I think we're going to be alright," he said. "Compared to last year, we have a lot of players coming back from last season. We were a really young team last year, but we have more seniors now, and I think we'll do a little better."

The Coyotes have 12 lettermen back from 2007. Still, Alice will rely heavy on a handful of starters. Those returning starters include forwards Soo-In Ma and John Jimenez, midfielders Michael Hernandez, Javier Garcia and Matt Saenz, and defenders Zeke Velasquez and Frank Villagran.

Soo-In Ma was the team's leading scorer last season and received first-team all-district honors. Garcia, Saenz and Velasquez also received all-district honors.

The Coyotes' preseason started Wednesday with scrimmages against Corpus Christi Ray and Carroll. Alice will scrimmage against Tuloso-Midway and Beeville Saturday at Tuloso-Midway High School.