Salvador Aguilar, Cambria’s gifted 16-year-old soccer prodigy who signed a contract with the San Jose Earthquakes Academy last August following a sensational freshman year at Coast Union High School, continues to impress.
He scored four goals in a five-game span recently with the Earthquakes U-16/17 team. Since the season started last September, he has appeared in almost every one of the team’s 16 games, starting 13 and playing in 15.
“I did have a slow start in the beginning,” Aguilar told The Cambrian. “It was a whole new life. I had to adjust to leaving my family, and everything was difficult. But I fought through it and kept myself motivated; my parents told me, ‘Just keep going.’”
His most recent goal came in a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders Academy team on March 3.
“I’m starting to pick it up now,” he said. “Everything is looking good for me. I am improving every day.”
He has advanced to the point where he is assigned to train with the Earthquakes Major League Soccer team once a week. “It’s a wonderful experience,” said Aguilar, who was home for his 16th birthday on March 17.
He is training as a striker with the MLS team. “It’s a lot of compression and pressing the defenders,” he said. “It involves learning the current movements to go, and the current timing to go, and checking your shoulders.”
If he continues to impress his coaches, he hopes to be playing with the Earthquakes first team in perhaps a year.
He’s also still utilizing what Coast head coach Omar Catalan taught him his freshman year — during which he scored 18 goals. Aguilar said Catalan taught him to “get out of my comfort zone. From the beginning I tried to make a new goal for myself every day — I worked toward reaching that goal and kept going at it.”
Currently, Aguilar lives with a teammate’s family about 25 minutes away from Avaya Stadium, an 18,000-seat facility just west of the San Jose International Airport. He said he’s adjusting to “a lot more traffic, a lot more people.”
“I have settled here in San Jose… I’m happy and I’m blessed,” he said.
Catalan said he was pleased to have had an impact with Aguilar “in such a short time… his freshman year. The kid is something special. He’s a very humble kid and was always willing to work, always wanting to be better.”
On a scale of one to 10, Catalan gave Aguilar “a solid nine. In a few years, he’ll be twenty out of 10.”
Given the young soccer star’s start with the Earthquakes, Catalan may have to move his prediction up a bit.