Coaches select nine Bulldogs for all-league soccer teams, award Garcia Valley League’s Player of the Year

Andy Garcia, right, earns Valley League Player of the Year honors. Photo courtesy of Michael Jordan
Andy Garcia, right, earns Valley League Player of the Year honors. Photo courtesy of Michael Jordan

By Joe Naiman

Although Ramona High School’s boys soccer team finished second in the final 2012-13 Valley League standings, Ramona senior Andy Garcia was selected the league’s Player of the Year during the post-season coaches meeting Feb. 25.

Garcia was joined on the all-league first team by sophomore striker Alex Medina and senior midfielder Morgan Schmidt.

The second team included senior midfielder Abraham Cabrera and sophomore defender Colin Uekert. Four other Bulldogs were given honorable mention recognition: junior goalkeeper Jesse Bonilla, sophomore defender Aedan Maruna, senior midfielder-forward Ricky Rodriguez, and senior defender Kiko Valencia.

“I walked out of there really happy with the outcome,” said coach Michael Jordan.

Garcia received Player of the Year honors even though Ramona trailed Orange Glen by half a game in the final standings.

“It almost always is somebody from the first-place team,” Jordan said.

During the 2012-13 season Garcia had 14 goals and eight assists.

“Most of those goals came from the midfield position,” Jordan said.

Garcia had 52 goals during his career, some of which occurred when he was as forward.

“He’s willing to play whatever position I asked him to play,” Jordan said.

During the 2012-13 season Garcia saw action as a forward, a midfielder, and a defender. Jordan nominated Garcia for consideration as the league’s Player of the Year.

“I talked about the stellar year he had this year,” Jordan said.

The rest of the league’s coaches then began confirming Garcia’s merits.

“It was a nice compliment when you have other coaches jumping in,” Jordan said. The vote to select Garcia as the Player of the Year was unanimous.

Medina was Ramona’s leading scorer with 22 goals and seven assists.

“Alex loved it when Andy played up top of him,” Jordan said.

Jordan felt that using Garcia as a midfielder improved the team scoring even if that wasn’t reflected in Garcia’s individual statistics.

“I wanted Andy to get as many touches as he can,” Jordan said. “I put him at a position where he was most effective for the players around him.”

Assist figures do not include second assists. Garcia was a forward on last year’s Ramona team, which was in the Palomar League, and had 16 goals with five assists during 2011-12. Garcia was Ramona’s only Palomar League first-team selection last year.

Medina was the only sophomore on the Valley League’s first team.

“There was more than one coach there that was lamenting the fact that Alex Medina’s only a sophomore,” Jordan said.

Medina’s 10 goals during league play were scored in eight different games and against every other Valley League team.

“We look forward to him coming back next year and not only continuing that role but adding new dimensions to his game,” Jordan said.

Schmidt led the Bulldogs with 14 assists while scoring 11 goals.

“He was drawing the attention of some of the best teams in the league,” Jordan said.

Cabrera had four goals and 10 assists during the season.

“Kind of our motor, our engine, the guy who went out and did all the dirty work,” Jordan said. “He’s out there challenging for every 50-50 ball.”

Uekert was the only sophomore on the league’s second team.

“He had to do kind of the dirty work on marking some of the bigger, stronger players,” Jordan said. “He can probably jump higher than any other player I’ve seen.”

Medina and Uekert thus gave Ramona the only two all-league sophomores above the honorable mention level.

“(That) just talks about our depth and how we had contributions from many different positions and players,” Jordan said.

Ramona had seven all-league players last year. Bonilla was one of two second-team players while Cabrera was one of four Bulldogs accorded honorable mention status by the Palomar League coaches.

The Bulldogs finished the 2012-13 season with an 8-1-1 Valley League record. A loss in the CIF quarterfinal match gave the Bulldogs a final overall season record of 20-3-3.

   
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