High School Sports

Three times as nice! Sam Houston scorer is boys soccer player of the year for third time

Jose Ortiz knew he wanted to be an elite scorer the moment he started playing soccer at 5 years old.

Playing in his home country of Honduras, Ortiz could look up to his grandfather and father, who both played professionally.

As soon as he came to the United States, more opportunities arose.

Ortiz started as a freshman at Arlington Sam Houston and scored 32 goals. He was named Fort Worth Star-Telegram boys soccer player of the year. He scored 42 goals as a sophomore and was named player of the year again.

Starting to see a trend?

The Sam Houston forward broke his own program record with 59 goals this season for his third straight player of the year award.

“It’s amazing and a great opportunity, and I’m very thankful,” said Ortiz, who was named Gatorade Texas Player of the Year as a freshman. “There are a lot of elite players and it’s a great feeling to be up there with them. I like winning and I’m a forward so I love to score. I can’t go without it, it’s in my instincts. I play like it’s my last game and I just enjoy it. I don’t think too much of the record, I don’t stress about it. I just go out there and play the game I love.”

Jose Ortiz
Sam Houston’s Jose Ortiz (15) crosses in front of Hebron’s Diego Hernandez (23) in the Class 6A Region I final, April 8, 2017. Bob Booth Special to the Star-Telegram

“It’s huge for our school and community,” added coach Joey Rodriguez. “Jose represents all of us and everyone is proud of him. It’s nice to see him bring a big shining spotlight to this school.”

The Texans won a district title for the third straight season and reached the regional tournament for the third time in five years. Ortiz was also voted district MVP for the third time.

“It was a great season overall for the program,” Ortiz said. “We had a great run. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but it was a nice year. I got to enjoy it with my friends and coaches.”

“Jose continues to surprise us and continues to adapt to the game,” Rodriguez said. “He gets better every year and that’s a testament of how hard he works. We’ll run with the cross country team in the fall and he’s always in front. Then he’ll ask to stay after and shoot some extra shots. He’s earned all these awards because of his hard work. It’s attribute to the type of player Jose is.”

Through three years, Ortiz has scored 133 goals. His 59 this season came close to the state record of 70.

“I haven’t seen anything like it,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve seen athletes a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, but nobody with Jose’s work ethic. He’s constantly eating, breathing, thinking soccer. It’s what he loves to do. When you combine all of that into one person, it’s amazing to watch. I enjoy the practices as much as the games. His goals in practice are better than the ones he scores in games.”

Check back Wednesday for girls soccer player of the year

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.