By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Who knew this would be the year? The Baldwin Park High School boys soccer team had a combined record of 47-3-3 in 2009 and ’10, graduating a majority of star-studded seniors that came up short to Salesian twice, losing in the 2009 championship and 2010 semifinals to the Mustangs.
Then it happened. Baldwin Park, after failing to win the Valle Vista League title, went on on improbable postseason run to deliver its first boys soccer title, beating Carpinteria 1-0 to claim the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 crown. Baldwin Park coach Ricardo Mira’s perseverance paid off, earning Division 5 coach of the year award, and also being named this newspapers coach of the year after guiding the Braves to a 20-4-2 record. (To continue reading click thread)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Ricardo Mira, Baldwin Park
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Cristian Garcia, Sr., Forward, Baldwin Park
Forward: Jaime Reyes, Baldwin Park Sr.
Forward: Neil Ignacio, Diamond Bar, Sr.
Forward: Josh Luevanos, Glendora, Sr.
Midfielder: Troy Ford, Claremont, Jr.
Midfielder: David Ramirez, La Puente, Sr.
Midfielder: Jesus Ordaz, Mountain View, Sr.
Defender: Kwaku Yeboah, Damien, Sr.
Defender: Ivan Garcia, Ganesha, Sr.
Defender: Fenny Martinez, Glendora, Sr.
Defender: Cory Hodge, Claremont, Sr.
Goalkeeper: Oswaldo Martinez, Mountain View, Sr.
Forward: Leonardo Grigg, Bonita, Sr.
Forward: Oscar Villa, La Puente, Jr.
Forward: Giovanni Munoz, Sierra Vista, Sr.
Midfielder: Alejandro Garcia, Ganesha, Jr.
Midfielder: Brent Chamberlain, Claremont, Sr.
Midfielder: Diego Mercado, Glendora, Jr
Midfielder: Juan Mendoza, Los Altos, Sr.
Defender: Daniel Nicholls, Damien, Sr.
Defender: Quincee Worrell, Bonita, Sr.
Defender: Armando Rodriguez, Sierra Vista, Sr.
Goalkeeper: Felix Arambula, Ganesha, Sr.
“I have had better teams, but this was the team that got it done,” Mira said. “You have to give them a lot of credit. They weren’t ranked during the year and they came back from two goals down in a second-round game and won (4-3 over Lakeside) in sudden-death (overtime). I think that was the game that got it going for us.
“It was definitely unexpected to win a championship. I called it one heck of a rebuilding year, but that’s how it happens sometimes. When you give it your all and never quit, good things happen, I don’t know how else to explain it.”
Senior forward Cristian Garcia, who had been part of all the heartbreak and pain of 2009 and ’10, finally had his moment, earning not only Division 5 player of the year honors, but also this newspapers boys soccer player of the year.
“If you had a most improved award, he (Garcia) would get it,” Mira said. “He worked extremely hard and carried this team. It showed no only on the field, but how he led our guys off the field. He really had something to prove his senior year and it couldn’t of went better for him and us.”
Garcia leads a Tribune first-team forward line that includes Braves teammate Jaime Reyes along with Diamond Bar senior Neil Ignacio and Glendora senior Josh Luevanos.
Garcia, also the Valle Vista League MVP, finished with 21 goals and 15 assists with Reyes scoring 19 goals with seven assists to form the most dangerous one-two punch in the Valley.
Reyes was also named to the Valle Vista and Division 5 first teams. Although Diamond Bar finished fourth in the Hacienda League, Ignacio was well respected among coaching peers, who voted him the Hacienda League MVP with 11 goals and three assists.
Luevanos had an incredible year for Glendora, scoring 25 goals with six assists, helping the Tartans win the Baseline League in their first season in the new league.
Not only was Luevanos named the Baseline League MVP, he also was a Division 1 first-team selection.
Claremont was nothing more than average in 2010, finishing third in the Baseline League with a 12-11-1 overall record, and was just hoping to be a contender in the new Sierra League, which included Damien and Chino Hills.
If some thought Claremont winning the Sierra League title was a surprise, the Wolfpack didn’t slow down, winning its first championship in 17 years on defender Cory Hodge’s game-winning goal, giving the Wolfpack a thrilling 3-2 sudden-death overtime victory over Capistrano Valley to earn the Division 2 title.
Troy Ford also was a huge part of Claremont’s equation. Ford leads the area’s first-team midfield, which include’s La Puente’s David Ramirez and Mountain View’s Jesus Ordaz.
Ordaz, named to the Mission Valley League first-team and Division 5 second-team list, was a huge part of the Vikings’ 11-3-5 overall mark in leading them to the league title.
Ramirez, a first-team Montview League selection, was an attacking playmaker whose numbers don’t tell the full story. Although he finished with nine goals and five assists, he could generate an attack out of the midfield with the best of them.
Claremont’s Hodge, who as a defender had eight goals and two assists, was named the Division 2 player of the year and Sierra League co-MVP.
Hodge, who scored the game-winning goal in sudden-death overtime in their championship win over Capistrano Valley, leads the area’s first-team defense that includes Damien’s Kwaku Yeboah, Ganesha’s Ivan Garcia, Glendora’s Fenny Martinez and Mountain View goalkeeper Oswaldo Martinez.
Yeboah had a great year for the Spartans, who tied Claremont for the Sierra League title. Yeboah was named co-Sierra League MVP with Hodge as the Spartans finished 11-4-6 overall.
Martinez led the Baseline league champion Tartans’ backline, earning Baseline league first-team honors and was a Division 1 third-team selection.
Ganesha won the Montview League and advanced to the Division 4 semifinals, paced by Garcia, a sturdy defender named to the Montview first team and Division 4 first team.
Mountain View goalkeeper Osvaldo Martinez continued to prove why he’s among the best in the Southern Section. A two-time CIF champion, the Vikings came up short in trying to three-peat, but Martinez had another stellar year, helping the Vikings to the Mission Valley League title. He earned MVL first-team honors and was named to the Division 5 first-team.