Javier Vega earns all-league honors
Offensive Player of Year: Efren Ramirez Ledezma, Carson.
Midfielder of Year: Jaime Rodriguez, Wooster.
Defensive Player of Year: Christian Martinez, Carson
Goalkeeper of Year: Victor Cruz, Bishop Manogue
Coach of Year: Frank Martinez, Carson
Forwards: Israel Lopez, Carson; Jacob Bain, Bishop Manogue; Jose Vidales, Wooster.
Midfielders: Javier Vega, sr., Douglas; Allan Munoz, Wooster; Osvaldo Gomez, Carson; Sebastian Martinez, Wooster.
Defenders: Eduardo Gomez, Wooster; Edgar Guillen, Wooster; Guillermo Perez-Morris, Carson; Maxwell Cantor, Galena.
Goalkeeper: Francisco Cazares Madrigal, Galena.
Forwards: Axel Estrada, Wooster; Angel Gonzalez, Carson; Yurmein Alvarez Victoria, Damonte Ranch.
Midfielders: Jesus Maldonado, Wooster; Ernesto Lamas, Carson; Cole Matteson, Galena; Brandon Barajas, Wooster.
Defenders: Erick Rivera, Damonte Ranch; Jackson Fyda, Manogue; Omar Martinez, Wooster; Julio Loera-Hernandez, Carson.
Goalkeeper: Michael Gonzalez, Damonte Ranch.
It won’t come as any surprise to long-time Douglas High School soccer fans that Javier Vega was a good player and leading scorer this season for the Tigers.
Vega, a fourth-year varsity veteran, was honored as a first-team midfielder on the recently announced all-Sierra League list for a Douglas team that went 4-10-5 overall (3-9-4 league).
“Javi was an all-around great player,” Douglas coach Chase Zumpft said. “He was the best player on the team; pretty much, how he played is how the team played. He was a good captain and a good leader. He pushed the other kids during practice and they fed off him.”
This carries on a family tradition that is perhaps highlighted by his older brother, Eddie Vega, who was Sierra League Midfielder of the Year in 2007 — for a Douglas team that went 20-5-1 — and later played at American River College (he was Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year in 2010) and at UNLV. Their sister, Gabriela Vega was a standout for the Tigers’ 2014 girls team that was undefeated on its way to the region tournament title.
Vega led Douglas in scoring with nine goals and four assists. His best performance may have come on Sept. 27 when he scored one goal and dished out three assists against Damonte Ranch in a game the Tigers scored twice in the final 11 minutes to salvage a 4-4 tie. He also scored three goals on Oct. 7 in a 5-4 loss to eventual league regular season champion Carson.
The 5-foot-10, 155-pound Vega was a key reason why Douglas more than doubled its team offensive output from last season — nine goals in 2016 to 20 goals this fall.
Vega missed most of that 2016 season due to academic ineligibility. Even then, however, he continued to work to help out his teammates.
“He stuck around and practiced every day, and came back to play our last three games,” Zumpft said. “Then, this year, he went from being ineligible to carrying A’s and B’s.”
Douglas also had one player, Gerardo Flores, earn a spot on the academic all-state team with his 4.0 grade point average.
Even though eight seniors will move on after graduation, Zumpft believes there is promise for success on the horizon.
Just for example, four freshmen came up from the JV squad and saw varsity action at various times, including Ricky Diaz, Manuel Solis, Jordan Watts and Jose Saldana.
“We have some young kids with potential coming up,” Zumpft said.
The Tigers lost five league games by two goals or less, and during one stretch at mid-season, they were 4-1-1, including back-to-back 1-0 wins over Reno and Bishop Manogue.
“This season was a good learning experience. The boys fought hard and we were in position multiple times to win games; we just need to close out games. They felt let down by not making the playoffs, but we were in it until the last three games.”