For the fifth straight year, West Valley Preps watched enough soccer to put together a credible all Northwest Valley team. Here it is:
F – Michael Huss, senior, Northwest Christian
F – Emanuel Robles. senior, Kellis
F – Alexander Huguez, senior, Sunrise Mountain
MF – Mathew Holmes, senior, Ironwood
MF – Caleb Joseph, senior, Kellis
MF – Ernesto Osorino, senior, Ironwood
D – Grant Gibson, sophomore, Northwest Christian
D – Nate Guzman, senior, Ironwood
D – Lorenzo Nicolia, senior, Sunrise Mountain
D – Ian Eliason, senior, Liberty
GK – Connor Frosyland, senior, Sunrise Mountain
F – Connor Geraghty, freshman, Mountain Ridge
F – Ricardo Cardozo, senior, Ironwood
F – Jose Sanchez, senior, Dysart
MF – Brian Richardson, senior, Liberty
MF – Diego Samayoa, junior, Deer Valley
MF – Logan Guertin, senior, Sunrise Mountain
MF - Angel Balderrama. junior, Valley Vista
D – Dillon Morrow, senior, Shadow Ridge
D – Gabe Guerrero, senior, Ironwood
D – Sebastian Nassif, senior, Willow Canyon
GK – Ryan Frieland, senior, Northwest Christian
Player of the year
Mathew Holmes, senior, Ironwood – Once again, Holmes was the Eagles’ engine, this time to a top 10 team in the state. With seniors Ernesto Osornio and Gabe Cardoza back from the club soccer world, Ironwood had more attacking options available than since its 2011 state title squad. Holmes often set them up and provided the crucial link to the Eagles’ back four. The team was one nightmarish afternoon away from a state title game, after beating eventual 5A champion Carl Hayden in its first round game.
Alexander Huguez, senior, Sunrise Mountain – Another returning senior from the club world, Huguez was one of the premier goal poachers in the state this season. His 29 goals were fifth in the state, at least among schools reporting — and led all players in 5A. He also had 15 assists, forming partnerships with fellow seniors Logan Guertin, Cameron Burns and Talon Willeford. His return was the catalyst in an offense that produced 40 more goals for the Mustangs than last year despite playing only one more game this season.
Coach of the year
Jonathan Perdomo, Kellis – The Cougars’ overall record actually dipped this year, yet Kellis made significant progress in the games that counted. Last season this team was the highest ranked 5A squad to miss the play-in games. This time around, the Cougars improved to the point that they earned their way into those playoffs and competed well with region rivals and semifinalists Ironwood and Sunrise Mountain — despite both of those teams improving markedly this year as well. Kellis was at its best in the postseason, qualifying for the main 5A draw with a dominating 3-0 win at Marana Mountain View. Then, after falling behind 3-0 at Sunrise Mountain in the first round, Perdomo’s team nearly came back to tie with unrelenting effort in the final 15 minutes, scoring twice and having two dangerous free kicks to set up the tying goal.
Tim Beck, Ironwood – The Eagles’ Hall of Fame coach with more than 400 career wins will always be in the mix. And this was Ironwood’s best overall team in nine years, even if it met the same star-crossed fate in the semifinals as the 2017 and 2018 teams. For 2/3 of the 1-0 double overtime semifinal loss to Carl Hayden, Ironwood had to play with a hand tied behind its back. Defender Gabe Gurrero’s first two fouls drew unusually quick yellow cards and put the Eagles a man down 40 minutes in. Beck did not comment about the officiating afterword. Still in a brief postgame interview, Beck's fondness for this senior class and his profound sense of injustice for how their career ended was palpable. "They can't let this define them. It was a moment that was taken from them," Beck said. "I thought we responded well (in the second half. You shouldn't have to respond to something like that. But that is all credit to them. That's the kind of players they are. They responded the way we trained them to respond. But you run out of luck playing down a man for 75 minutes."