By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
EL MONTE — There are few coaches in any sport with the passion of El Monte High School boys soccer coach Javier Aguiniga. Even Lions football coach Joel Sanchez marveled at it before the Vikings’ boys soccer match against Mountain View on Tuesday, explaining how Aguiniga returns from a morning jog to talk soccer.
“I don’t follow a lot of soccer,” Sanchez said. “But he goes on and on about it. Soccer’s always on his mind.” (To continue click thread)
Below: Coach Javier Aguiniga helped Mountain View win three championships. Now he’s trying to do the same at El Monte, but that day will have to wait. Mountain View whipped his Lions, 4-1 on Tuesday.
Aguiniga used that energy and passion as a co-head coach with Mountain View’s Felipe Corona to help the Vikings win three CIF championships.
But now Aguiniga is at El Monte after becoming a teacher at the school and is hoping to turn the Lions soccer program into the power Mountain View has been for the last decade.
Facing his former team for the first time, that day is going to have to wait.
El Monte started the season well and climbed to No. 8 in the CIF-SS Division 5 poll. That was a slap in the face to Mountain View, which was unranked because of some early-season losses in tough tournaments and non-league games.
Mountain View settled the rankings debate on the field with three second-half goals to pull out a 4-1 victory to remain undefeated in the Mission Valley League, improving to 6-3-4 and 3-0. The Lions fell to 6-5-4 and 0-2-1 in league.
“It was a weird feeling today,” Aguiniga said. “I loved coaching there (Mountain View) and I love those guys. It was hard telling them I was leaving.
“And some of the things I use to say to them about never letting up, about fighting, those are the things we’re going to learn at El Monte. But today, it was their day.”
El Monte came out with a lot of emotion and led 1-0 after Raul Hernandez poked a shot over a defender inside the left post in the 20th minute.
Hernandez nearly doubled the Vikings lead after a shot ricocheted off the post in the 28th minute.
That was costly because Mountain View’s Edgar Garcia tied the game with the goal of the match just before half, tucking a 35-yard shot inside the near post in the 36th minute to make it 1-1.
“That was a huge momentum-swinging goal,” said Vikings coach Felipe Corona. “They (El Monte) came out good. They scored the first shot they took and almost got another one.
“But (Garcia’s) goal motivated us for the second half. We got it going after that.”
Vikings midfielder Manuel Garcia put the Vikings in front with a goal in the 48th minute and less than ten minutes later, Calvin Gutierrez made it 3-1 by rifling home a goal in the 55th minute.
Jose-Felix Gomez finished the Lions off in the 70th minute.
What bothered Aguiniga is that all three of Mountain View’s second half goals came on corner kicks, leading to a long postgame talk with his players.
“As long as you don’t fall asleep on corner’s, you should be fine,” Aguiniga said. “You have to fight in those situations. You have to win the battles in the box, and that’s something we’re going to learn.”
For the Vikings, they finally feel they’re on a roll, unbeaten in their last six games, which includes a 2-2 non-league tie against Southern Section power Paramount.
“The game against Paramount got our confidence back because we trailed 2-0 and came back to tie it and could have won it,” Corona said. “We’re going to be a good team. On any given day someone else can beat you. We had four different players score, that’s the type of team we have.”