"They can come in already with a great foundation. Plus, I don't have to worry that much about working on the technical parts of the game."
The Vaqueros went 6-8-6 and 4-6-4 in the Western State Conference's Southern Division for fourth place last season. Glendale college also didn't qualify for the Southern California Regionals for the seventh season in a row.
Mena, who was named the conference's Southern Division Coach of the Year in 2002, said the Vaqueros will field 23 players this season. Twelve of them have ties from La Crescenta, Glendale and Burbank.
Those athletes will look to play a part in helping steer the Vaqueros toward the top of the division and possibly end their postseason drought. Mena said there's plenty of work that will need to be done to accomplish one or both of those feats.
"We lost a lot of close matches last year, but at least we were in those games," said Mena, whose team will start division play at 4 p.m. Sept. 28 against host Bakersfield College. "If we can stay healthy and have everybody working together, then we can get some wins early and build off that.
"We want to be a team that takes care of the ball and continues to play great defense."
Mena said he will lean toward a trio of goalkeepers who can share the job of stopping shots. The group will consist of sophomore Esther Rodriguez, a Glendale High graduate, freshman Eulalia Rendon and sophomore Emily Hovendick.
The stopper will be Burbank High graduate Allyson Burns, a sophomore, and the sweeper will be freshman Alyssa Meredith, who also graduated from Burbank. The defenders will likely consist of sophomore Teresina Cuccinello, a Hoover graduate, freshman Claudia Juan, sophomore Iliana Torres and sophomore Melisa Sanchez, a Glendale graduate.