Panther Soccer 2010

by Steve Sparks, November 24, 2010

The wonderfully successful 2010 Soccer Season is over and all that remains for me to do is to inform you of the team’s individual awards and to express gratitude to our many supporters.

At a ceremony held yesterday at the High School gym­nasium, the following awards were given out to the Soccer program.

League MVP & 1st Team All League: Sergio Gutier­rez.

1stTeam All-League: Hector Cruz and Chuy Sanchez — the only freshman from the entire league to make the 1st Team.

2nd Team All-League: Chava Gutierrez.

Honorable Mention: Christian Mendoza, Manuel Almeida, Omar Solano, and Elio Gonzales.

Coaches Awards: For Services to the Team both on and off the field: Sergio Gutierrez, Carlos Mendoza, Carlos Espinoza, and Chava Gutierrez.

The remaining players on the squad should all be rec­ognized for their efforts throughout this historic season so here they are: Juniors – Chava Eligio, Eric Guerrero, and Kevin Espinoza; Sophomores – Louis Murillo, Alex Vargas, Juan Lua; Juve Corona, and Sammy Alvarez; and Freshmen – Jose Gaxiola, Danny Espinoza, and Lalo Avalos.

My two assistant coaches, Eddie Ferreyra and Nikola Milojevich, deserve special mention for their many hours of coaching, mentoring and driving; and behind the scenes, but still very much appreciated and whose sup­port is absolutely necessary for any school team to be successful, are Principal Jim Tomlin, Athletic director Robert Pinoli, the two school secretaries – Rebecca and Veronica, and the man who has provided us with the best playing surface in the league out there at Tom Smith Field, Mike Foucault.

Finally, any talk of the success of this 2010 team must always come back to one very special player: Ser­gio Gutierrez. He broke the school scoring record two seasons ago as a sophomore when he scored 37 goals. He beat that record again in the 2009 season with an aston­ishing 64 goals as he became the league MVP, a feat he has repeated this season. He is a smart player with a nose for goal and a tremendous work ethic. He is invariably the best player at practice too, both in terms of effective­ness and effort.

He is small in stature but a giant among the high school players in this region at this time.

His attitude towards the game, his teammates, the opposition, and the officials is excellent. He gets fouled often and never complains. He never retaliates. He sim­ply gets up and gets on with his game, often with a wide grin on his face. To provide some balance and give a sense of objectivity, I wish I could think of something negative to say about him — oh, yes, he wears pink soc­cer boots!

This season he was our only senior starter and much depended on him. He is quiet but when he talks the other players all listen. This season our midfield creativity, with three starting freshman, was below what it was in 2009 so it was thought his goal tally would be down. However, as I mentioned last week, he scored a truly amazing 65 goals and thus set a new all-time school goal-scoring record. His 129 goals in his final two sea­sons at the school is a remarkable achievement and will probably never be beaten.

In eight years of coaching at the high school level he is the best player I have seen, either on our team or any other for that matter. He plays the game the way it is meant to be played in my opinion and this together with as his efforts in the classroom should stand him well in his future endeavors both on and off the pitch.

Sergio led a team whose spirit improved with every game and the players’ never-say-die attitude was preva­lent all year long. It was a year of many highs and lots of fun, laughter was never more than a few moments away; a year in which the presence of Coach Tom Smith, who died tragically back in the Spring, was felt strongly throughout, and a year in which the Panthers of the Anderson Valley soccer program made their mark in school sports history. Well done to one and all! This one is for Tom.

Final 2010 Season Record (W-L-D): League 14-2-2; Overall 19-3-4. North Coast Section Champions.

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