Cambrian: Sports

Soccer star signing with MLS to girls basketball success: The top Coast Union sports stories

Bronco soccer standout Salvador Aguilar has signed with the San Jose Earthquakes as an Academy player. As a Coast Union freshman in 2017, he scored 18 goals. Here, he battles for possession in a home match last season.
Bronco soccer standout Salvador Aguilar has signed with the San Jose Earthquakes as an Academy player. As a Coast Union freshman in 2017, he scored 18 goals. Here, he battles for possession in a home match last season. Courtesy photo

Salvador Aguilar’s saga as a youth soccer standout qualifies as among the most impressive Coast Union High School sports stories of 2018. The 16-year-old prodigy had a phenomenal freshman year in 2017, scoring 18 goals, including a hat trick against Atascadero, which led the Broncos to a 3-2 upset victory.

But he did not play soccer this fall and winter for Coast Union. Instead, Aguilar is playing for the San Jose Earthquakes’ Development Academy, as a member of the U-16/17 club, he played in nine games and scored seven goals.

Aguilar’s Coast Union coach, Omar Catalan, said Aguilar is the first from the school to be signed by a Major League Soccer academy. “That kid is something special,” said Catalan. “He is a very humble kid and was always willing to work, always wanting to be better.”

Catalan went on: “On a scale of one to 10, I give him a solid nine. In a few years, he’ll be 20 out of 10.”

Was Catalan surprised when Aguilar single-handedly beat Atascadero, a far bigger school with a bigger roster of experienced players? “No, I expected him to have a big impact, and that’s what he did,” said Catalan.

And if Aguilar continues to work hard in San Jose, and passes muster with the Earthquakes, in a short period of time he could be making an impact with the MLS club.

“I’m super motivated,” Aguilar said in a phone interview, adding that he misses Cambria “a lot… This was a tough decision, you know. But I’ve learned over the years you have to make sacrifices to get what you want. And I want to reach the highest level of soccer I can get.”

Girls basketball playoff run

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The Coast Valley League-winning Coast Union girls basketball team met at the school library Sunday, March 4 for its 2018 awards banquet. Back row, from left: assistant coach Brian Wright, Alondra Mercado, Angelique Gutierrez, Kaylee Ferguson, Karis Lawson, Bella Raethke, Meg Stern, head coach Keith Stowers. Front row, from left: Ellie Kennedy, Jackie Happel, Zoe Markham. Debbie Markham.

Coast Union’s girls basketball team ran the table (10-0) in the Coast Valley League (CVL), received a bye for the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs and hosted a second-round against Santa Clara.

Santa Clara came into the Coast Union gym and did some trash-talking, trying to intimidate the home team, Broncos players reported after the game. The visitors went about belittling the small high school team they thought they would demolish.

But rather than being blown out, as it appeared might happen at the outset, the Broncos rallied and nearly caught Santa Clara. But in the end, Coast Union lost, 44-37. Still, the girls basketball team was the only Coast Union sports squad to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Karis Lawson and Kaylee Ferguson shared MVP honors. Lawson, team captain, was also named MVP of the Coast Valley League. Ferguson was named to the all-CVL first team.

Alondra Mercado was named Most Improved Player – and coach Keith Stowers was named Coach of the Year for the CVL.

The volleyball team also won the CVL (10-0), and the baseball team prevailed in the CVL (6-0). Both volleyball and baseball teams had talented players but lost their opening rounds in the CIF post-season party.

In hindsight, it was a good year for Coast Union sports simply because, win or lose, student athletes got a chance to compete and learn social skills at the same time.

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