Each time Richland's soccer team prepared to take on a tough opponent this past season, coach Matt Snow called on sophomore Cristian Cuadra.
"I would tell him that I needed him to score three goals," Snow said.
F Cristian Cuadra, Soph., Richland: With 30 goals and 16 assists, Cristian was one of the top offensive players in the area and helped lead Richland to 6-5A title.
F Jorge Cuadra, Jr., Richland: Jorge wasn't far behind his younger brother with 22 goals and 21 assists; Jorge was also the 6-5A MVP.
F Marco Dragonic, Sr., Martin: Dragonic, who was voted forward of the year in 4-5A, helped lead the Warriors to another district championship.
F Enrique Rangel, Jr., Birdville: Rangel showcased incredible ball-control skills all season and was the 11-4A MVP.
M Carlos Zarate, Sr., Arlington Sam Houston: Zarate was a dominant from the midfield, earning the 4-5A MVP award.
M Tommy Price, Jr., Southlake Carroll: Price played an important role for the Dragons in the midfield and won the 7-5A utility player of the year award.
M Joey Nieto, Sr., North Crowley: Nieto finished the season as the midfielder of the year in 4-5A, a district packed with talented teams.
D Roger Perez, Sr., FW South Hills: Perez led the South Hills defense and was named the 13-4A defensive MVP.
D Anthony Angulo, Sr., FW Southwest: Angulo finished out his high school career as the defensive player of the year in District 14-4A.
D Miguel Vallejo, Sr., Sam Houston: Vallejo switched from forward to the back line this season and was named 4-5A's defender of the year.
GK Kenny Barbaran, Sr., Mansfield: Barbaran was the top goalkeeper in District 5-5A, earning goalkeeper MVP honors.
Over and over, Cuadra answered the call. He scored goal after goal to lead Richland to a 23-1-1 regular-season record and District 6-5A championship; in Richland's first district game against Euless Trinity, Cuadra had four goals by the 45th minute.
Cuadra finished the season with 30 goals and 16 assists to earn the Star-Telegram Boys Player of the Year award.
"It's a big thing for me," Cuadra said. "It's a huge honor to be one of the best scoring players in Richland history."
Cuadra scored four goals in several games and had six hat tricks in district play. Snow pulled Cuadra out of many games -- typically at the half or early second half to avoid injury.
"He would always get pretty upset because he didn't want to come out," Snow said.
Cuadra knew where to go on the field by instinct.
"I'm always looking to see the ball, and my teammates were great about passing it to me," Cuadra said. "Coach told me to follow the ball, and I did it all the time."
In a tournament game against Grand Prairie, Cuadra scored a game-winner in the final minutes off a pass from his brother Jorge, who was the 6-5A MVP with 22 goals and 21 assists.
"That was my best goal," said Cristian, who has a healthy rivalry with his older brother. "Jorge was all happy when he was named MVP, but now I get to make fun of him."
Cristian, the 6-5A offensive player of the year, has a scoring instinct, but Snow has been more impressed with his star sophomore's effort.
"From Day 1 that I started coaching Cristian, he's had an over-the-top work ethic," Snow said. "It wasn't really until about midseason last year that he really just started going off."
Snow had switched Cristian from center midfielder to forward, a move that sparked a scoring frenzy.
Cristian finished his freshman year with 10 goals in the final seven games. This year, he picked up where he left off.
"He scored our first goal this season and didn't stop," Snow said.
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760
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