Osvaldo Orduna has been honing his soccer skills since he could walk. A gifted athlete, the Lake Placid senior helped the Green Dragons reach unseen heights on the pitch, as the team finished undefeated in Class 2A-District 10 play and reached the state playoffs.
"Osvaldo played a key role in helping us excel this year," Lake Placid coach James Ashley said. "He came into this season in the best shape of his life, which allowed him to do so much for us."
Orduna dominated the Dragons' box scores, scoring 18 goals and dishing 11 assists while helping Lake Placid amass a 15-3-2 record. But it's Orduna's intangibles that Ashley points for praise.
"Osvaldo's statistics show how successful he is on offense, but they don't show how hard he worked defensively or his effectiveness as a leader. He controlled the midfield for us this year, and helped organize pick-up games in the offseason. Osvaldo's a passionate player and it really showed this year."
For his efforts and achievements, Orduna has been selected as the Highlands Today 2014 All-Highlands Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
"It's something I'm really happy about," Orduna said after hearing the news. "I've worked hard all season and always tried to give more than 100 percent when I was playing."
Orduna said that winning Player of the Year briefly crossed his mind during the season. "Sure it came up, but I always brushed it off. I was focusing on trying to make our team better as we tried to win the district title, and we had a great season."
Ashley has said that Orduna has the skills necessary to play soccer at the next level. But Orduna plans to join the Marines upon graduation.
"Soccer isn't out of the question," Orduna said. "But I think the experience in the Marines will be great. It will help me become a better persron."
Yoyi Gomez, senior, Lake Placid: Never one to shy away from big moments, Gomez always rose to the occasion whenever his teammates needed him most. One of he best attackers in the county, Gomez totaled 18 goals and 7 assists on the season.
"He had an impressive year," Ashley said. "I can recall three games where he tied the score in the final minutes. His efforts played a crucial role in helping us make an impressive run this season.
Ruben Coronado, senior, Avon Park: A four-year starter for coach Victor Munoz, Coronado's impressive character is what sets him apart from most soccer players.
"He's truly a very dedicated person," Munoz said. "He was awesome to coach."
Austin Westergom, senior, Sebring: Tallying eight goals on the season, Westergom's energy on the field was palpable during games. "He works so hard to inspire the other players," Blue Streaks coach Keith Bowyer said. "And just think, he didn't come out to soccer until his junior year. Even then, he still had a big impact on the team."
Jose Becerra, senior, Lake Placid: The Dragons defensive anchor, Becerra made each game a nightmare for opposing players.
"Jose played the best soccer of his career this season," Ashley said. "His leadership and communication were instrumental in making our team tough to score against."
Yovani Hernandez, senior, Avon Park: One of only a handful of Red Devils who scored a goal this season, Hernandez has his sights set on something outside the realm of athletics: college.
"He's a great student, and earned a $40,000 scholarship," Munoz said. "He's an awesome person to know and a great player to coach."
Brandon Bowyer, junior, Sebring: Whether he was diving for the ball or punching it with his fist, Brandon Bowyer laid it all on the line every game. The Streaks goalkeeper faced 70 shots and made 54 saves.
"He's an incredibly hard worker," Keith Bowyer said. "And he's constantly striving to get better."
Jose Orozco-Oliveros, freshman, Lake Placid: Orozco won't overwhelm you with his stats, but the Dragons' record this season speaks for itself: he shutdown some of the opposing teams' best player.
"Jose had a great freshman year," Ashley said. "His position is only recognized in the wins and losses column, but he was tested all year and made few errors. He makes life tough for any attacker."
Brooks Whidden, junior, Avon Park: With one year left at Avon Park, Munoz has high hopes for Whidden.
"He's a very good leader," Munoz said. "He had a handful of shutouts and should be even better next season."
Eusebio "Junior" Chavez, senior, Sebring: The Streaks most talented sweeper, Chavez always managed to be in the right place at the right time.
"That's hard position to log stats for, but he was still the coaches' MVP," Bowyer said. "He helped keep opponents from getting many shots off."
Alfredo Aguillon, sophomore, Lake Placid: One of the top goalkeepers in Class 2A, Aguillon totaled 73 saves and anchored six shutouts. In 17 games, he gave up just 12 goals.
"The improvement Alfredo's made in one year is beyond significant," Ashley said. "He's a very agile goalie with good hands and can distribute the ball extremely well."
Chris Pomeroy, sophomore, Avon Park: Known for his unyielding tenancity, Munoz said he's excited to have Pomeroy for two more seasons.
"He's an awesome player who never takes a play off," Munoz said. "Remarkably, he never takes a play off in practice, either."
Filemon "Filly" Chavez, senior, Sebring: Chavez played mid fielder for the Streaks and score two goals this season.
"He's got great vision on the field," Bowyer said. "And his ability to handle the ball in tight spaces is awesome."
?Edgar Delgado, junior, Avon Park: A three-year starter for Munoz, Delgado is well-respected for his consistency.
"He's been with me for the long haul," Munoz said. "He's steady and has a good soccer future ahead of him. He's got the potential to play professionally."
Hunter Livingston, junior, Sebring: A utility player, Bowyer never had to worry about Livingston when he inserted him into the game. "His strength is playing any position," Bowyer said. "Which is a rare talent. Not many people can play the whole field like he can."
Aaron Perkins, freshman, Avon Park: A budding star, Perkins has the potential to be a cornerstone for the Devils over the next three seasons. "He's raw, and always fighting for our team," Munoz said. "He's tenacious and he never quits."
Jared Lang, senior, Sebring: An all-around athlete, Lang had a stellar season at midfielder for the Streaks.
"He's bound for Harvard," Bowyer said. "And we'll miss him. He really helped stop the other team from building an attack. But he's the kind of kid that takes on workloads that would kill most adults."
Jordan Hay, senior, Sebring: Another one of Sebring's unsung heroes, Hay was vital in stealing the ball from opposing teams.
"He's got strong dribbling skills," Bowyer said. "His ability to strip the ball is second to none."
Carlos Santana-Bravo, freshman, Lake Placid; Sam Smith, senior, Sebring; Diego Mireles, sophomore, Lake Placid; Taylor Austin, junior, Sebring; Christian Resendiz, senior, Lake Placid.
Coach of the Year
For guiding Lake Placid to an undefeated regular season in Class 2A-District 10, along with sweeping both Avon Park and Sebring, Lake Placid's James Ashley has been selected as the Highlands Today 2014 All-Highlands Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.