Reflective of his positive nature Riverside-Brookfield boys soccer coach Danny Makaric always gets excited right around the start of a new season. Considering the Bulldogs return this fall armed with the achievements of 2011 conference and regional titles, Makaric once again carries a spring training-like optimism into the fall campaign.

St. Joseph ended the Bulldogs’ solid season last year, dealing RB a 2-1 loss in four overtimes in sectional action. The team retains quite a bit of talent, although the loss of stars like Ruben Chavez, Jon Kingzette and Max Ohle will be felt.

“I think we have a good chance to do well in our conference and the playoffs,” Makaric said. “We have established a good soccer program at RB. There is a good bond among the players. It’s one for all and all for one.”

In fact, the Bulldogs continued to develop their team chemistry and secure some valuable last minute preseason work with a conditioning trip to the Indiana Dunes this week.

The Bulldogs, who finished 11-8-2 last season, highlighted by a 5-1 Metro Suburban Conference mark, will employ a strength in numbers approach in order to win games this season. Jake Fieseler (defender), Thomas Leary (midfielder), Santiago Beltran (midfielder), Mason Dorsey (defender), Joe Aieta (defender), Caje Chavez (defender/midfielder), Quentin Dreilich (midfielder) and Ivan Eukic (midfield) provide Makaric plenty of skilled players all over the pitch.

Beltran, a versatile athlete with good scoring ability, may also moonlight as the kicker on the RB football team led by new head coach Brendan Curtin.

“Santiago is in great shape,” Makaric said. “He’s fast and strong with good technical skills. He can beat other players one-on-one and score from 30 yards out.”

Striker Eduardo Marentes and forward Frank Kaczmarczyk are some other players Makaric believes can provide the Bulldogs some scoring punch.

Jack Hansa and James Rock are competing for the starting goalkeeper’s job.

According to Makaric, the Bulldogs have an excellent chance to repeat as conference champions although Glenbard South is another preseason favorite. Fenton and Ridgewood should field competitive clubs as well.

RB takes on Oak Park Aug. 21 (6 p.m.) at the Leyden Soccer Challenge Cup to kick off the season. The Bulldogs will also face Larkin and Leyden in the tournament, and then follow up with an appearance at the Lemont tournament.

The Bulldogs begin conference play at Illiana Christian on Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m. During a busy September, RB hosts U-High, Ridgewood, Brother Rice, Proviso West and Fenton along with a couple of road matches. Once again, RB will host a regional this season.