It’s rare for freshmen to win major honors at the varsity level.
But when you look at the local landscape for the 2017 high school soccer season, fewer players had a bigger impact on their team than Sam Houston freshman Jose Ortiz, the 2017 Star-Telegram Boys Super Team Player of the Year.
“I think if you take away ‘freshman’ and just say Jose Ortiz, and think about what he did, it’s a no-brainer,” Sam Houston coach Joey Rodriguez said. “He just came up with big time goals in big time games. In the regional tournament, what he did was unbelievable.”
Ortiz finished the season with 30 goals and eight assists, earning first-team All-State honors as well as District 4-6A MVP. Rodriguez knew Ortiz had the potential to be a special player, but neither expected the youngster to have the influence he did this season.
“We didn’t know how he would adjust to the physical part of the game, because our district is pretty physical at times,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t want to put him out there where he might get hurt or discouraged because he wasn’t able to do some things he was able to do for his club. But he came in there and really surprised a lot of people, including us coaches.”
“There were a bunch of great players here,” Ortiz said. “I didn’t even know if I would start, but thanks to my work ethic and everything I did, coach believed in me and started me. Everything went well this year. I just gave it my best.
“There were a lot of juniors and seniors bigger than me, faster and stronger,” he added. “But as time went by, I started getting faster and was able to fit into the game.”
2017 Boys Soccer Super Team
F Jose Ortiz, Fr., Arlington Sam Houston: Named MVP of District 4-6A. Finished with 30 goals and eight assists and was named first-team All-State.
F Alistair Person, Sr., Arlington Bowie: Co-offensive MVP of District 4-6A. Finished with 16 goals in the Vols’ best-ever season.
F Calvin Herd, Sr. Southlake Carroll: Among the area leaders with 23 goals. Named Offensive MVP of District 5-6A.
F Carlos Flores, Sr., Arlington Lamar: Scored 32 goals. Named Co-Offensive MVP of District 4-6A.
F/M Brandon Cerda, Jr., Mansfield Lake Ridge: Was Co-MVP in District 10-5A after netting 17 goals.
M/F Anthony Cano, Sr., Birdville: Among the area leaders in goals with 20. Was Offensive Player of the Year in District 8-5A.
M Jonathan Hernandez, Sr., Keller Fossil Ridge: Co-MVP of District 3-6A. Had 10 goals on the season.
M Luis Vargas, Sr., Sam Houston: Three-year starter capped his career with six goals and eight assists. Was Midfield MVP of District 4-6A.
M Ricky Martinez, Sr., Mansfield Summit: District 10-5A Co-MVP scored 11 times while assisting on 21 others.
M Reed Vierling, Sr., Aledo: Named Midfielder MVP of District 6-5A, scored seven goals.
M/D Octavio Gonzalez, Jr., Crowley: Was the MVP of District 9-5A.
D Alfonso Morales, Jr., Fort Worth South Hills: Leader of a defense that posted 13 shutouts while adding five goals. Named Defensive MVP of District 7-5A.
D Bryson Guinn, Jr., Birdville: Defensive MVP of 8-5A, anchored a defense that posted 15 shutouts.
D Tyler Null, Sr., Northwest: Defensive MVP of 6-5A, captained a team that broke a playoff drought dating more than 10 years.
GK Josh Starkey, Sr., Keller Central: Named Goalkeeper MVP of the district in back-to-back seasons, including District 3-6A this season. Posted seven shutouts.