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VARSITY TIMES

Hamilton soccer duo has been pitch perfect

Caldas, Robertson have combined for 19 goals in 11 games for a team that must overcome its inconsistency to realize dream of a City title.

December 19, 2007|Mike Terry | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Hamilton girls' soccer team has been on a nice run, winning the 2006 City Invitational championship and reaching the 2007 City Championship semifinals before losing to eventual champion Woodland Hills El Camino Real.

If Hamilton -- 4-5-2 this season after losing to Reseda Cleveland, 2-1, on Saturday -- is going to build on that success, the Yankees will need seniors Andrea Caldas and Brittany Robertson to continue playing at a high level.

Robertson, a forward and striker, led the Western League with 23 goals last season. She remains a force so far this season with eight goals.

Caldas, a midfielder and forward, is doing even better with 11 goals for Hamilton.

The two rank second and third among City goal-scorers behind Hollywood's Geyme Guzman, who has 16 goals, according to MaxPreps.com. And they give opposing defenses at least two things to worry about in every game.

However, if an opponent can stop Caldas and Robertson, it stops Hamilton. That may be the reason for the Yankees' uneven play. They began this season 0-3-2, then won four straight, but have dropped their last two games.

"I know other teams will zero in on Brit and Andrea -- they're pretty much our offense," Coach Mario Dominguez said. "But it's a good 1-2 punch. And we have some other players starting to step up."

Caldas and Robertson, both 17, have known each other since they were 5. They played afternoon coed youth soccer at Overland Elementary. They have not played on the same AYSO and traveling club teams, but are happy to be teammates at Hamilton.

"Andrea and I love soccer. It's crazy how much we love it," Robertson said.

But that passion, she said, has not always been shared by teammates.

"Some of the other girls, it's like they play to get out of other classes, or to say they have that varsity title," Robertson said. She did say, however, "the last few games they have stepped up."

Both players are coming off rocky junior seasons.

Caldas tore cartilage and sprained a ligament in her right knee, which hampered her club and high school play. "It's the third time I've hurt the knee," she said. Though she said she is healthier this season, she still may consider surgery.

Robertson had self-inflicted issues. "I just went crazy," she said. "I started doing random things like not coming to school. I was benched for four games for discipline. But I am back on track."

And trying to interest Division I recruiters.

Caldas also wants to play college soccer, but said her thin frame isn't attracting recruiters. "I have applied to several UC schools, and if I get accepted I'm determined to walk on."

If Hamilton, which resumes its season Jan. 11 at Westchester, wants to end El Camino Real's seven-year reign as City champion, the Yankees will have to make improvements, Caldas said.

"I think, as a team, we need more skill training and more tactical training," she said. "[El Camino Real] has more freshmen coming up with club experience. We have little experience coming in."

Robertson is not letting that minor fact douse her competitive flame.

"I definitely want a ring this year," she said. "I don't care if I break bones out there."

mike.terry@latimes.com

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