Cambrian: Sports

His first season in an MLS Academy is over. How did Cambria’s soccer phenom fare?

Cambria’s 16-year-old soccer standout Salvador Aguilar — who skipped his sophomore year at Coast Union High School to play for the San Jose Earthquakes’ Development Academy — had a fruitful first season.

He made his mark by scoring 11 goals; seven in league competition, three in the Generation Adidas Cup in April and one in the Development Academy Summer Showcase in June. In that June 3 competition — a chance to show his skills before college coaches and scouts — Aguilar scored the winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rapids Academy squad.

His progress as a prospective professional has earned him a second year with the Earthquakes. Again this coming season, because he loves the game of soccer and understands that he is strategically positioning himself for the future, he is willing to be “playing for free.”

The Earthquakes absorb travel expenses for the Academy team, but there is no stipend for living expenses, and there is no pay. He certainly made a positive impression, but he said, “I am never satisfied with what I’ve done. I don’t want to settle because I want to keep going and bring more to the table because I know I’m capable of doing so,” he said. “I am super happy with my progress this year, but I need to get out of my comfort zone and keep working.”

His former Coast Union coach, Omar Catalan — for whom Aguilar scored 18 goals his freshman year — said Aguilar has done “exactly what I thought he would do. He was chosen to play there (San Jose) for a reason and he showed it with his stats.”

Local soccer mentor Luis Plasencia, who coached Aguilar in the Cambria Youth Athletic Association soccer program as a 10 year old, said, “You could see at that age that he had another vision for the game already.”

Home in San Simeon with his family for the month of July, Aguilar is staying in shape, working out and looking forward to next season (he will turn 17 in March 2020). He is also searching for a place to live in San Jose for next season.

Last season, he was invited into the home of another Academy player, but that won’t be available this coming season.

“I came into the academy with skills that would help me improve... my strength, speed, awareness of the game,” he said. “But the biggest thing I had was my mentality, the desire to improve every day knowing that I was in San Jose all by myself, with no family or friends but my teammates and my team staff.”

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