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Nuno takes the top honor, Barstow places one on Press Dispatch soccer team
Juan Nuno couldn’t make up his mind. At first he wanted to leave Hesperia High for the uncharted waters of brand new Oak Hills. Then he changed his mind and decided he’d rather remain a Scorpion.
But soon Nuno pulled a second flip-flop and again opted for Oak Hills. Eventually, Nuno’s mother said she had enough with her son’s inability to pick a school and she told him that he was sticking with the Bulldogs.
Boy, did that turn out to be the right call.
Playing for the first-year school, Nuno was able to assume the role of the team’s primary goal scorer, a position that might not have been available at a school like Hesperia with an established pecking order.
Nuno, the 2010 Daily Press Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year, scored an area-record 39 goals this season.
Nuno led his team to the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 championship game.
Not a bad year for a kid who had zero previous varsity experience and was a relatively unknown commodity at the beginning of the school year.
“The first day of school this year I didn’t know who Juan Nuno was,” Oak Hills coach Darren Goodman said. “Now everybody knows who he is.”
Hindsight being what it is, it’s a wonder that Nuno hadn’t caught the attention of anyone in the area before then.
But that’s what happened as Nuno played on the Hesperia junior varsity team his sophomore season and remained in relative obscurity.
Nuno said that he thinks he didn’t make the varsity squad that year because he didn’t play his freshman season after her broke his collarbone while playing for his club team.
“The coach didn’t really know me because I didn’t try out freshman year,” Nuno said. “That’s most likely the reason why.”
Count Goodman (Hesperia’s athletic director at the time) among the group unaware of the kind of talent that resided on that particular Scorpions junior varsity squad.
“I didn’t see a lot of the JV games last year,” Goodman said. “Had I watched the games, I’m sure I would have noticed.”
And it didn’t take long for Nuno to catch his new coach’s eye.
“The first time we scrimmaged he put a couple of balls in the back of the net,” Goodman said. “He caught my attention.”
What Goodman saw during that first scrimmage was a player with an innate ability to score.
Despite his relatively small stature, Nuno rarely gets the ball taken from him, and when he gets a sliver of room within 18 yards of the goal, it’s usually lights out for the other team’s goalkeeper.
“You either have that or you don’t — you can’t really teach that instinct in the penalty box,” Goodman said. “He just has a natural instinct to get a shot off.”
That trait in Nuno was apparent to Goodman during the first scrimmage, and during the season the rest of the High Desert quickly took notice.
Nuno scored two goals in the Bulldogs’ season opener against Victor Valley and had 18 goals after his first 10 games.
Soon teams began man-marking Nuno wherever he was on the field to try to take him out of the game.
The strategy usually didn’t work. Nuno scored five goals in the Bulldogs first three playoff games when everyone knew that he was the key to Oak Hills’ attack.
“Like every single game they would try to find someone to get me,” Nuno said. “But I just kept on going.”
So where does Nuno go from here, after his record-setting year that served as a pseudo coming out party?
Nuno said that one of his goals for next season is to try to beat his own scoring record.
He also wants to show anyone who might think he was a one-year wonder or the beneficiary of a non-league schedule (Oak Hills joins the Mojave River League next year) that those 39 goals weren’t an accident.
“It actually does,” Nuno said when asked if that motivates him. “I want to be there so I can show people that I am good."
Coach of the Year
Darren Goodman, Oak Hills
Goodman took a group of kids that had never before played together all the way to the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 title game. The Bulldogs did not have a single senior on their roster and had only one player with previous CIF experience. Goodman got the Bulldogs to play at a frenetic pace that emphasized an attacking style of soccer.
All Area Team
Anthony Caudle, jr. F
Caudle led the Sun Devils in goals (23) and assists (10) en route to winning player of the year honors in the Mojave River League. Caudle earned second team All-CIF Div. 5 honors. “He’s a good all-around player,” Apple Valley coach Chris Reeves said. “He moves the ball around real good, gets everybody involved.” Caudle led the Sun Devils to a 11-11-5 record and a berth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.
Daniel Pena, jr., F
Pena was one of the main reasons the Jackrabbits made the leap from zero wins in 2009 to 11 in 2010. Pena had 22 goals on the season, 13 coming in Desert Sky League play. Victor Valley coach Bryan Musslewhite said Pena was far and away the Jackrabbits’ best offensive threat on the pitch. Pena also finished second on the team with eight assists. He also made first team All-CIF Division 6.
Niels Woods, sr. F
Woods broke the Granite Hills record for goals in a season with 26 in 2010. He also had 15 assists for the Cougars and was named the DSL Player of the Year and earned first team All-CIF Div. 6. Granite Hills coach Paul Cesarez said that he thought his team would have been a .500 clubs without Woods, and that “he’s a man playing in high school.”
Brett Croft, jr., M
Croft co-captained a Bulldogs squad that made the CIF-SS Div. 6 championship game. Croft led Oak Hills with 15 assists, and his eight goals were good for fifth on the team. Croft provided valuable leadership for a team that didn’t have a single senior on its roster, and he earned first team All-CIF Div. 6 honors.
Waulfre Gomez, sr., midfielder Hesperia
Gomez finished tied for third on the Scorpions with seven goals, and he tied for second in assists with seven. Gomez earned first team all league honors in the MRL and helped lead Hesperia to the league title. Gomez also was named to the All-CIF Div. 5 first team. Hesperia coach Gene Estrada said of Gomez: “If there’s one player on my team that’s hard to replace it’s him.”
Joshua Guillen, sr., M
A number of area coaches singled Guillen out when discussing the Diamondbacks. Guillen was a presence for Serrano on both the offensive and defensive sides of the pitch. He scored 14 goals and had nine assists.
Kenny St. Pierre, sr., M. Granite Hills
St. Pierre finished second on the Cougars in goals (16) and had 10 assists on the year. He was named first team All-DSL and second team All-CIF Div. 6. St. Pierre teamed up with Woods to lead an offensive attack that scored 62 goals this year.
Kevin Mejia, jr., D
Mejia was the MRL Defensive Player of the Year and led a group that only allowed 18 goals this season. Estrada called Mejia the captain of the Scorpions defense.
Chris Rogone, sr., D
One of the top defenders in the area, Rogone was a part of a Granite Hills defensive group that recorded 18 shutouts this season. Rogone has started for the Cougars since he was a freshman, and he earned first team All-DSL and third team All-CIF Div. 6 honors this spring.
Daniel Rosales, sr., D
Rosales keyed a defense that logged four shutouts on the year. He also scored two goals and dished out one assist. Reeves said that the Sun Devils needed Rosales to play a variety of positions to be successful, and that Rosales was able to handle that load.
Venacio Mendoza, jr., G. Sultana
Mendoza was the main reason the Sultans stayed competitive this season, despite a mediocre defensive back line. Mendoza logged three shutouts on the season.
(Alphabetical by school)
Ryan Wainner, Sr., (Barstow) F; Alejandro Franco, Sr., (Granite Hills) GK; James Douglass Sr., (Hesperia), Christian Hernandez Jr., D (Hesperia); Pat Moreno Sr., F (Hesperia); Chazz Cameron Jr., F (Oak Hills), Broderic Capps Jr., GK (Oak Hills), James McKee Jr., D (Oak Hills); Alberto Esparza M (Silverado), Michael Hernandez D (Silverado); Jeremiah Lewis D (Victor Valley).