The Eagles are in the midst of an historic soccer campaign, racing to a perfect, 9-0 record in league play and 11-1-1 overall.
Led by coaches Carlos Jimenez, Francisco Soto, Martin Ruiz, Edwin Acosta and Javier Aguilar, Cloverdale is winning with a blend of experience and talent, combining a core of veterans with young, gifted underclassmen.
“We were able to quickly bond together as a family and set some high goals as a team for this season,” Jimenez reported. “I believe this has been key for our team accomplishments to this point.”
Defense has been a main ingredient in the first half of the season, with the Cloverdale back line yielding just 15 goals in 13 games so far.
The team has tried several players at the goalie position, with junior Andres Alfaro settling into the spot on a regular basis.
The Eagles are led by a group of strong defenders, which include freshman Luis Santos (on the right) and sophomore Eduardo Garcia (on the left). The heart of the defense is anchored by senior, Emmanuel Gonzalez and junior captain, Alexis Ceja.
“Very little gets past these two center defenders,” Jimenez noted.
The task of controlling the midfield stripe has been given to midfielders; senior David Alvarez and junior captain David Gonzalez.
“Alvarez also plays with the CHS varsity football team and Gonzalez is team captain and leads the team in scoring with 20 goals,” Jimenez said. “All four of these players defend with lots of tenacity but have also scored impressive goals for the team.”
Assuming the roles of attacking midfielders are sophomore, Ivan Muro Lopez on the left wing and junior, Jesus Rodriguez on the right.
“Both Ivan and Jesus are very skilled and creative with the ball — they penetrate the opposition defensive third,” Jimenez explained.
Holding down the center-mid spot is junior Carlos Orozco, the second leading scorer on the team. Sophomore Pablo Zepeda Martinez also plays this midfield position.
“Both of these players possess great field vision and are tasked with distributing the ball to their teammates and creating scoring opportunities,” Jimenez said.
Senior captain, Alexis Leyva is the team striker, putting constant pressure on opposing defenses.
“Alexis has great ball control and most of the time he is surrounded by defenders, making it hard for him to score,” Jimenez noted. “When he’s not scoring goals he pulls his defender out of position and that allows other teammates to exploit the space that he left behind.”
With all pieces now in place, the Eagles have risen to the top of the heap in league nearing the last third of the season, with a league title and the playoffs very much in their grasp.
“The seniors are excited and sad at the same time as they know their soccer season is winding down,” Jimenez said. “They are looking forward to their senior night on Thursday, Oct. 21 (vs. Clear Lake, 4 p.m.).”