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Prep boys soccer: Center of the defense

Valencia sweeper Jake Veiga voted the Foothill’s best

Posted: February 26, 2013 8:47 p.m.
Updated: February 26, 2013 8:47 p.m.
Valencia senior sweeper Jake Veiga earned Foothill League Player of the Year honors in boys soccer. Valencia senior sweeper Jake Veiga earned Foothill League Player of the Year honors in boys soccer.
Valencia senior sweeper Jake Veiga earned Foothill League Player of the Year honors in boys soccer.

Not even a broken nose could stop Valencia Vikings senior Jake Veiga from playing.

It didn’t stop him from winning Foothill League boys soccer Player of the Year honors either.

The league announced Monday that Veiga, the leader of Valencia’s vaunted defense, was voted to the Foothill’s top honor.

“I was very surprised,” Veiga said of finding out about the honor. “I was not expecting it at all. I was so appreciative for my team and my coach and what they’ve done for me this year.”

Veiga said he was surprised partly because he broke his nose in the league opener against Saugus and had to miss playing time.

The senior later required surgery, which forced him to miss two league games early in the season.

He returned to the field for the entire second half of league play and helped the Vikings win their first league title in school history.

“We had to rely on defense this year and Jake was a big part of that,” said Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio. “He was a returning player. He was our sweeper. He was a critical part of our strategy.”

In 10 league games, Valencia recorded seven shutouts and allowed just five total goals along the way. Three of those goals were given up in one game against Hart, which was one of the games Veiga missed.

“Looking back on that now, it almost helped me having to go and get surgery on my nose because it brought out not only how much I wanted it for the team, but how much the team wanted it,” Veiga said.

Not only was Veiga the centerpiece of Valencia’s defense, he also created constant scoring opportunities with his powerful throw-in.

Veiga scored one goal himself during league play.

Also announced Monday was the rest of the All-Foothill teams.

Valencia scored three first-team selections with seniors Jesus Fernandez, Jake Ferry and Zach Klindworth.

After finishing second in league, West Ranch has three seniors of its own on the first team. Those Wildcats honored are Jake Hirst, Wade McMillon and Justice Rodrigues.

The third-place Hart Indians get two senior defenders, Gabe Robinson and Jonny Rose, on the first team.

Two more seniors in Brian Perez and Zach Nua represent fourth-place Saugus Centurions.

The lone underclassman on the team is freshman Francisco Perez, who represents fifth place Golden Valley.

Canyon senior Daniel Foster rounds out the first-team selections.

The second team includes Valencia’s Marc Silingardi and Gino Ferraro, West Ranch’s James Lemus and Zachary Sage, Hart’s Harrison Sidell and David Knopf, Saugus’ Jordan Pacheco and Austen Scheff, Golden Valley’s Sebastian Martinez and Grant Ellfeldt and Canyon’s Chad Ybarra and Niko Nuyda.

All second-teamers are seniors with the exception of Nuyda and Sage, who are both juniors. Canyon’s Nuyda and Valencia’s Ferraro are the only two goalkeepers to make the first or second teams.

The league’s honorable mentions are Canyon senior Rojay Morrison, Golden Valley junior Michael Richardson, Hart junior Brayon Rodriguez, Saugus junior Noah Maynard, Valencia senior Aaron Chamness and West Ranch junior Alex Manzo.


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