Oregon high school boys soccer: Top returning players, outlook for every 4A league

By René Ferrán

With only six weeks of competition and no state championship events, it won’t be a normal high school sports season. Nevertheless, we examine the top returning players and outlook for every Class 4A boys soccer league in Oregon. 

(Read the Class 6A breakdown here and read the Class 5A breakdown here.)

Victor Martinez (Phoenix) photo by WST Photography

Cowapa League

Returning all-leaguers

First team: M Garratt Alles, Sr., Valley Catholic; D Conner Bly, Sr., Valley Catholic; M/F Westin Carter, Sr., Seaside; M/F Dodger Holmstedt, Sr., Seaside; GK Luka Rak, Sr., Valley Catholic.

Honorable mention: M Ben Costa, Jr., Banks; M/D Kainoa Henley, Jr., Banks; M Carter Affolter, So., Tillamook; M Bruno Monroy, Jr., Tillamook; D Cooper Howard, Sr., Valley Catholic; M Charles Bettger, Jr., Valley Catholic.

Outlook

Two-time defending league champion Valley Catholic graduated Cowapa player of the year M Nicolas Tubito and two other starters (D Bailey Hill and GK Connor Matto) playing college ball, but the Valiants still have five all-league returners who can help them hold off 2017 champion Seaside, which narrowly finished second last season. 

Tri-Valley Conference

Returning all-leaguers

First team: M/F Aldo Avila, Sr., Molalla; M/F Grant Embree, Sr., Corbett; M/D Javier Sedano, Sr., Madras; M Raymond Garcia, Sr., Estacada; M Alex Rojas, Sr., Molalla.

Second team: M/D Dalton Crosley, Sr., Gladstone; M Tai Shibahara, Sr., Estacada; M Jessie Garcia, Sr., North Marion; M Martin Ruiz, Jr., Molalla; M Antuan Peterson, So., Molalla.

Honorable mention: D Israel Jarquin, Sr., Molalla; M Anthony Guarricagotia, Sr., Molalla; D Isaias Zurita, Sr., North Marion; M Brady McNett, Sr., Gladstone; D Cody Hovda, Sr., Estacada; D Ben Haefs, So., Estacada; D Josue Gabriel, Sr., North Marion; F/M Cole Parker, Jr., Corbett; GK Martin Gonzalez, Jr., Estacada.

Outlook

The top three teams in the conference were fairly evenly matched last season, but this could be the season Molalla makes it over the hump to win its first league title since 2015. The Indians return 16 players, including their entire midfield that earned all-TVC honors. North Marion won its first league championship since 2014, when it was in the Oregon West, but graduation hit the Huskies hard. Gladstone graduated TVC player of the year Derek Johnson and keeper Nate Burlingame among others. Madras saw its three-year run as conference champion end last season, but the White Buffalos had a strong Season 1 led by Sedano and seniors Manny Flores and Leo Gutierrez.

Oregon West Conference

Returning all-leaguers

First team: M Jayden Esparza, Jr., Stayton; M/F Julian Lopez, Sr., Cascade; F Omar Renteria, Sr., Stayton; M David Ramirez, senior, Stayton.

Second team: M/F Jacob Farr, Sr., Cascade; M/F Ruben Ruiz, Sr., Cascade; M/D Otavio Leiriao, Sr., Cascade; M Aidan Pierias, Jr., Newport; F Mark Grimmer, Jr., Philomath; F Isael Ramirez, Jr., Stayton; F Ricky Huffman, Jr., Sisters; D Julian Pelayo, Sr., Stayton.

Honorable mention: F/M Danny Pelayo, Sr., Cascade; M Damien Uribe, Sr., Stayton; M Omar Garcia, So., Stayton; D/M Chase Lopez, Sr., Sweet Home; F Connor Linn, Sr., Sisters; D Jesus Franco, Sr., Cascade; D JJ Mata, Sr., Sweet Home; D Nathaniel Alvarez, Sr., Sisters; GK Dylan Wolf, Sr., Cascade.

Outlook

With Woodburn successfully petitioning to move up to 5A, there’ll be no rematch of the 2019 final between the Bulldogs and Stayton, which won the conference title by handing Woodburn its only two losses. Esparza, the reigning 4A player of the year, had 20 goals and 15 assists as a junior. Cascade should push the Eagles for top honors led by Lopez, a three-time all-conference honoree, and three returning second-team all-OWC selections. Philomath lost in the play-in round last season but returns a strong nucleus led by Grimmer. The Warriors will get pushed by Sisters, which returns its top two scorers in Huffman (10 goals, four assists) and Linn (eight goals, nine assists).

Sky Em League

Returning all-leaguers

First team: F Irwin Leon, Sr., Marist Catholic; D/M Alberto Castillo, Jr., Marshfield; M Aldo Rea, So., Cottage Grove; M Torrent Adkins, Sr., Marist Catholic.

Second team: F Ryan Cary, Jr., Marist Catholic; M Jayden Cameron, Jr., Cottage Grove; D/M Anthony Salinas, So., Marshfield; M/D Chris Ohman, Jr., Junction City; M/F Ernesto Hernandez, Jr., Marshfield; F Court Knabe, So., Junction City; M Evan Snauer, Sr., Cottage Grove; D Will Ficek, Jr., Marist Catholic; M Jose Lopez, Sr., Junction City.

Honorable mention: M Cory Butts, Sr., Cottage Grove; D Jesus Toralba, So., Cottage Grove; D Nick Norby, Jr., Marist Catholic; M Justin Guzman, Jr., Marist Catholic; F/M Mason Pittenger, Sr., Marshfield; GK Ty Kishen, Jr., Cottage Grove; GK Daniel Garcia, So., Marshfield.

Outlook

Marist Catholic entered the 2019 playoffs as the No. 1 seed and reached the semifinals before falling to Stayton in overtime. Despite graduating Sky Em player of the year Joey Braud and all-state keeper Sam Bell (Winthrop), the Spartans return Leon (17 goals, seven assists) and Adkins (13 goals, eight assists) from an attack that scored 74 goals (4.6 per game). Cottage Grove and Marshfield lost their first playoff games last season. The Lions return six all-league players and the Pirates five, making them dangerous rivals to Marist Catholic this season.

Skyline Conference

Returning all-leaguers

First team: F/M Victor Martinez, Jr., Phoenix; D Dan Martinez, Sr., Phoenix; F/M Ronan Hodge, Jr., Hidden Valley; M Micah Rasmussen, Sr., Henley; D/M Ben Bergquist, Sr., North Valley.

Second team: D Hudson Bacchetti, Sr., Mazama; M Eli Hayes, Jr., Henley; M Travis Jacobson, Jr., Henley; F/M Johan Murillo, Sr., Klamath Union; GK Jacob Cook, Sr., Klamath Union.

Honorable mention: M Jacob Schrock, Sr., North Valley; GK Tucker Speaks, Jr., Phoenix; M Tyler Laitinen, Sr., Mazama.

Outlook

First-team all-state striker Martinez (16 goals) will lead four-time defending Skyline champion Phoenix, which enters the season on a 21-game unbeaten streak in conference play. Hidden Valley, which handed the Pirates their only blemish (an early-season tie) in conference action last season, and North Valley were hit hard by graduation, which could allow Henley to break into the top half of the standings for the first time since 2016.

Greater Oregon League

Returning all-leaguers

First team: M Erick Lopez, Sr., Ontario; F/M Hector Castillo, Sr., McLoughlin; F Callum Ebel, Sr., La Grande; M Rogelio Mireles, Sr., Ontario.

Second team: M Lucas Young, Jr., La Grande; F Kael Castruita, Sr., McLoughlin; M Adrian Nunez, Sr., Ontario; M Rolando Castillo, Sr., McLoughlin; D Jarom Huntsman, Jr., La Grande; M Devin Ingram, Sr., La Grande; GK Silas Carter, Jr., Baker.

Outlook

How strong was the GOL in 2019? All four teams made the playoffs, with three of them — league champion Ontario, McLoughlin and La Grande — reaching the quarterfinals. The Tigers graduated league co-player of the year Greg Rodriguez but return two all-league first-teamers in Lopez and Mireles in the midfield. The Pioneers saw the other half of the co-player of the year tandem (Francisco Flores) depart, but they return three all-GOL players led by Castillo.

René Ferrán

Thank you for joining the discussion on SBLive!

%d bloggers like this: