After scoring five goals as a junior, Odessa High’s Luis Salazar returns to the Bronchos in 2018 focused.

That doesn’t pertain just to putting the ball in the back of the net however. He wants to be the catalyst for the Bronchos’ success in District 2-6A and the playoffs.

“We’re hoping for a big season,” Salazar said. “This is basically a new team; we have a lot of young guys.”

As one of the older players on the Bronchos, Salazar started the season with a lot of responsibility, while those without varsity experience around him tried to learn the speed of the game.

As Odessa High inches closer to the start of district play, Salazar’s ability to shine in big games a season ago should guide the team through any growing pains.

“I expect him to carry on what he did last year,” Odessa High head coach Eliseo Ortiz said. “I expect a lot of that. Not necessarily the goals, but just the experience and just some good play and making the other kids play well.

“I think it’s going to be similar to the past four years where there’s a learning curve, we have to learn to play as a team. I think we have the talent, we just need the team chemistry.”

That’s where Salazar’s veteran status comes into play. He says the way he sees soccer now is different than it was a year ago.

He sees the game from a more experienced perspective where there’s a method to his madness and every action benefits the team on the field.

“If he just works as hard as he did last year, maybe a little bit harder with the talent and experience that he has, he’ll be fine and help us a lot and he’ll definitely be the leader that we need him to be,” Ortiz said.

As one of the six seniors on the team, Salazar will lead from the midfield as he bounces around to keep the team organized.

“We’re kind of the big dogs as you say on the team,” Salazar said about the seniors. “We’re trying help these young guys get to the level that they need to be.

“Last year we tried to play rushed and this year we’re a little more clam. We’re going to pass the ball around and move our way up the field.”