SOCCER: Diaz De Leon earns league’s co-MVP, co-Player of the Year

San Benito's Joel Ojeda works to kick the ball away from

The simplest way to put it: Gilroy High soccer player Jonathan Diaz De Leon is a game changer. Put him at forward and he was one of the deadliest strikers in the Tri-County Athletic League.

 He has described being on the doorstep of the net – defenders all around – as a calming situation. Nothing bothers him. It’s just him and the ball.

“I feel like I have a lot of time,” Diaz De Leon said earlier this season. “It’s about having confidence.”

Drop him back into the defensive third to assist in protecting a late-game lead – consider the matter secured.

“He’s going to go down as one of the top players at Gilroy,” GHS head coach Armando Padilla said. “We were lucky to have a player like that who can play multiple positions.”

Diaz De Leon’s accolades trace back to a sophomore season, in which he led the Mustangs with 10 goals and was named the league’s offensive Player of the Year. He was an integral part of GHS’s league title in 2011, scoring 18 goals and defending his offensive Player of the Year award.

Though the Mustangs’ narrowly missed a playoff berth in 2012, Diaz De Leon kept tearing up the turf, posting a career-high 19 goals, which lifted him over the 50-goal plateau for his career.

And to top it off, Diaz De Leon earned a third straight first team nod, another co-Offensive Player of the Year and co-Most Valuable Player, as announced by the league Monday. The senior shared the latter two with Alisal’s Willy Miranda.

Senior captain Mario Gomez and freshman Andres Jimenez also pocketed first team recognition. Junior goalie, Carlos Jimenez, and a pair of sophomore defenders Raymundo Gonzalez and Javier Alejo, were named to the second team. Alejo was also the team’s recipient of the Richard Chamberlin Sportsmanship Award.

Andres Jimenez, who was second on the team with six goals, added a Freshman of the Year selection.

First Team, All-TCAL

Alisal: Willy Miranda, 10th, forward, Lorenzo Vasquez, 11th, midfielder, Eduardo Avalos, 12th, midfielder, Francisco Barrera, 12th, defender, Salinas: Jose Mendoza, 11th, forward, Ismael Velarde, 11th, forward, Alex Tellez, 12th, midfielder, Alvarez: Eddie Martinez, 11th, goal keeper, Ulysses Lopez, 11th, midfielder, Santiago Morales, 9th, midfielder, Gilroy: Jonathan Diaz De Leon, 12th, forward, Mario Gomez, 12th, defender, Andres Jimenez, 9th, midfielder, N. Salinas: Manuel Lazaro, 12th, midfielder Hatim Alwawi, 12th, forward, Hollister: Kenneth Hastings, 12th Ricardo, Roque, 11th, striker, Palma: Tim Carroll, 12th, defender

Second Team, All-TCAL

Alisal: Benjamin Carmona, 12th, defender, Ruben Gomez, 12th, defender, Fernando Oropeza, 12th, midfielder, Fabian Narez, 11th, goal keeper, Salinas: Patricio Nolasco, 11th, forward, Arturo Bolanos, 12th, midfielder, Isaac Orozco, 11th, midfielder, Alvarez: Martin Valdez, 12th, defender, Ivan Cruz, 12th, midfielder, Jose Alamo, 10th, forward, Gilroy: Carlos Jimenez, 11th, goal keeper, Raymundo Gonzalez, 10th, defender, Javier Alejo, 10th, defender, North Salinas: Sergio Alvarez, 11th, goal keeper, Jorge Boyzo, 10th, defender, Hollister: Andres Corona, 11th, midfielder and Travis Selski, 10th, defender, Palma: A.J. Yates, 12th, midfielder

TCAL Richard Chamberlin Sportsmanship Award

Alisal: Benjamin Carmona, 12th, sweeper, Alvarez: Ulysses Lopez, 11th, midfielder, Gilroy: Javier Alejo, 10th, defender, Hollister: Andres Corona, 11th, Midfielder, North Salinas: Hatim Alwawi, 12th, Forward, Palma: J.R. Budde, 10th, defender, Salinas: Daniel Losoya, 12th, defender.

MVP: Willy Miranda, 10th, forward, Alisal and Jonathan Diaz De Leon, 12th, forward; Offensive Player-of-the-Year: Willy Miranda, 10th, forward, Alisal and Jonathan Diaz De Leon, 12th, forward, Gilroy; Midfield Player-of-the-Year: Alex Tellez, 12th, midfielder, Salinas; Defensive Player-of-the-Year: Eddie Martinez, 11th, goal keeper, Alvarez; Senior Player-of-the-Year: Kenneth Hastings, Hollister; Junior Player-of-the-Year: Lorenzo Vasquez, midfielder, Alisal; Sophomore Player-of-the-Year: Willy Miranda, forward, Alisal; Freshman Player-of-the-Year: Andres Jimenez, midfielder, Gilroy; Coach-of-the-Year. Mark Cisneros, Alisal High School

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