Boys Soccer: Top Players, Merritt College, Rankings, Standings, Stats

The amount of comments hasn’t been as great as it was last season, so I need to play my trump card. Every time I talk about the best players, it gets discussion going.

I’m gonna touch on a few. Remember, I can’t talk about everyone, so I will leave that up to you guys to fill in any blanks I leave.

Erik Montes, Richmond

The defending East Bay POY is having another great season. He doesn’t have the scorers around him this year, so the assist totals are down, but he is still so much fun to watch. Montes has to be the most well balanced and skilled player in the area.

Tata Ayala/Edgar Damian Ygnacio Valley

Ayala is probably the frontrunner for the East Bay’s player of the year right now. His 15 goals lead the East Bay. He is big, fast, and effortless. Certainly the best pure forward the area has to offer.
If Damian wanted to, he could score 15-20 goals a year, but he knows how to make his team better and that’s to distribute. Once the ball gets to him in the midfield, he sets his teammates up with the greatest of ease.

Dan Glascock/Mark Helfrich, Acalanes

It’s hard to pick just two players from such an incredibly balanced team, but for now I’ll go with this duo for the Dons. Glascock is another guy who could probably try to score more, but just does his job in the midfield. Helfrich is the difference maker this year for Acalanes. Explosive speed with a nose for the goal makes him one of the more dangerous scorers in the area.

Jeff Greenberg/Ben Panconi, Monte Vista

Greenberg is explosive up top, and is equally dangerous either trying to score or setting up his teammates. Maybe the best player in the EBAL right now. Panconi is one of my favorites because of how he controls the midfield. A great stopper as a defensive mid, and is quick to get the ball to center mid or the wings.

Davonte Raynor/Nathan Grixti, California

This duo just dominates the midfield for Cal, and are both hybrid types who can play as mids, but like to push up and have a nose for the goal. Combining for 17 goals and 12 assists shows just how good these two are.

Ben Reiter/Kevin Fortney, College Park

Reiter is only scratching the surface. He is quick, shifty and very strong for his size. Fortney is a force in the back for the Falcons and is what a defender should be, big and strong.

Izzy Murgia/Esteban Berumen, Pittsburg

You want to talk about speed? Then these are two guys you should mention. They both have great touch, composure and skill. They are fun to watch and make Pittsburg a top 10 team at the moment.

Christian Clark, Foothill

Maybe the most fundamentally skilled player in the East Bay. He is smooth, effortless and fun to watch. He has put the Falcons back on the map with his creative and energetic style of play.

Rigo Castillo/Cata Gomez/Christian Mendoza, Hayward

I was trying to keep it to just two players maximum per team, but I’ll make an exception for Hayward. These three are great. Rigo is just a pure striker with a nose for the goal, Cata is a kid that thinks of his teammates first and distributes with the greatest of ease, while Mendoza can do anything you ask. Goals, assists, defend? He can do it.

Allan Foster/Brandon Bolender, Northgate

This senior duo has been waiting a couple of years for the program to turn around and it has. They are both very talented, attacking midfielders who are equally good scoring or distributing. It will be fun to see them in the playoffs.

Nigus Solomon/Matt Marletta, Berkeley

Solomon is the creative engine that makes the Yellowjackets go, while Marletta is the nails and barbwire in the back. Both play with a passion for the game, which is what makes them so good.

Matt Baringer, Piedmont

A very underrated player because he is sort of under the radar in the high school scene. Extremely talented.

Tyler Pangia/Blake Seitz, Amador Valley

I feel like AV has like 10 guys I could mention, but these two jump out at me. Pangia can create from anywhere, and Seitz is such a calming and controlling influence on the pitch.

Matt Maul/Alex Maestre, San Ramon Valley

The theme of great midfielders continues, and I think we have two of the better ones in the EBAL playing together for the Wolves.

Joel Sandoval, Newark Memorial

Sandoval is sneaky fast, very creative and has a rocket shot. A dangerous scorer down the left side, he can do it all for the Cougars.

Juan Villegas, Mt. Eden

Another underrated player. Not many have heard of him, but the kid can play. He’s very smooth, he’s constantly a threat and I think he can create from anywhere.

Andrew Konstantino/Nic Bob, De La Salle

Konstantino is regarded as the best keeper in the East Bay, and for good reason. He’s got great instincts and is a leader. Bob has been very unselfish for the Spartans, moving to the back, and has played great there.

Miguel Montoya, Logan

The huge numbers aren’t there yet for this season, but this kid is at the forefront of creating chances for a resurgent James Logan team.

Josh Espinoza, St. Mary’s

Espinoza can do it all, and does it with very little effort. Very fluid in finding the goal, or setting up his teammates.

Jeremy Romero, Hercules

A very talented scorer, with a nose for the goal at all times has helped make Hercules a team to watch this year.

Jorge Cendejas, Freedom

Haven’t seen this guy play yet, but have heard nothing but great things, and hope to see him soon.

Merritt College

Student asked on the blog last week about being noticed by Division I colleges, and it is always great for local soccer players when it works out. But some kids fly under the radar, or peak later in their career, and for those who want to continue playing and work towards their education after high school, there are still some great options.
One of those options is Merritt College in the Oakland Hills. Since Coach Zach Sullivan took over the program, it has started a winning tradition, and he is in contact with coaches all through Division I, II, III and NAIA.
Thanks to Sullivan’s efforts, finding a place to transfer is a reality for kids who still want to earn a scholarship, play soccer and get a degree after high school.
In the last two years, Jason Swihart of Berkeley High got a scholarship to Hawaii Pacific, Jonas Voiron of St. Joseph Notre Dame and Hugo Ramirez of Skyline got a scholarship to Holy Names, while Prince Bere of Castlemont and Ricardo Nava of Richmond have received multiple offers that they are considering.
Merritt has players from high schools all over the East Bay, which also creates a family environment and allows players to play with guys they went to high school with, played against in high school or club, or just know from the area.
Merritt also offers financial aid to cover tuition, books and additional living expenses to those who qualify, so please contact Coach Sullivan at merrittsoccer@gmail.com for more questions.


Some shifting in the top ten as YV climbs up to No. 3, setting up quite the showdown next Saturday as they face top-ranked Acalanes. Monte Vista jumps a spot, while Berkeley continues its winning ways and moves into the top five.
San Ramon Valley leaps De La Salle after its 1-0 win over Sparty, while Amador Valley and Pittsburg slip just slightly. Foothill, Campo and Northgate all jump up a couple spots as the bottom part of the top 15 presented some openings, while Newark just holds of Logan for that No. 15 spot for now.
Freedom and Concord both make the consideration list just outside the top 15.

1. Acalanes (12-0-0)
2. California (12-0-2)
3. Ygnacio Valley (9-1-2)
4. Monte Vista (8-1-4)
5. Berkeley (9-1-3)
6. San Ramon Valley (7-2-2)
7. De La Salle (5-3-3)
8. Amador Valley (10-3-1)
9. Pittsburg (4-2-3)
10. Hayward (9-2-1)
11. Foothill (7-2-3)
12. Campolindo (10-5-0)
13. Northgate (7-1-4)
14. Richmond (4-2-5)
15. Newark Memorial (6-3-5)

Others considered: Logan (6-5-3), Mt. Eden (7-4-3), St. Mary’s (5-1-3), Hercules (9-2-1), Freedom (6-6-1), Granada (4-3-3), Dougherty Valley (5-4-0), Concord (5-1-3), College Park (5-7-3),
Liberty (3-2-1)


Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Antioch (4-2-3, 0-0-0) 0
Deer Valley (4-4-1, 0-0-0) 0
Freedom (6-6-1, 0-0-0) 0
Heritage (2-6-1, 0-0-0) 0
Liberty (3-2-1, 0-0-0) 0
Pittsburg (4-2-3, 0-0-0) 0

Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Acalanes (12-0-0, 6-0-0) 18
Campolindo (10-5-0, 3-2-0) 9
Dougherty Valley (5-4-0, 3-2-0) 9
Dublin (5-5-3, 3-2-0) 9
Miramonte (2-6-2, 1-3-1) 4
Las Lomas (0-6-4, 0-3-2) 2
Alhambra (5-5-3, 0-4-1) 1

Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Ygnacio Valley (9-1-2, 4-0-0) 12
College Park (5-7-3, 2-1-1) 7
Concord (5-1-3, 1-0-2) 5
Northgate (7-1-4, 1-1-1) 4
Berean Chr. (2-4-2, 1-1-1) 4
Clayton Valley (0-11-1, 0-3-1) 1
Mt. Diablo (0-4-0, 0-3-0) 0

Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

California (12-0-2, 3-0-1) 10
Monte Vista (8-1-4, 2-0-2) 8
De La Salle (5-3-3, 2-1-1) 7
Amador Valley (10-3-1, 2-2-0) 6
Foothill (7-2-3, 1-2-1) 4
San Ramon Valley (7-2-2, 1-1-1) 4
Granada (4-3-3, 1-2-0) 3
Livermore (2-9-2, 0-4-0) 0

Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Logan (6-5-3, 3-0-1) 10
Newark Memorial (6-3-5, 2-0-2) 8
Irvington (2-3-6, 1-1-2) 5
Washington (3-3-5, 1-1-2) 5
Kennedy (3-4-1, 1-2-1) 4
Mission San Jose (3-5-4, 1-1-1) 4
Moreau Catholic (0-5-3, 0-2-2) 2
American (2-4-3, 0-2-1) 1

Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Castlemont (0-0-0, 0-0-0) 0
Fremont (0-0-0, 0-0-0) 0
Oakland (0-0-0, 0-0-0) 0
Oakland Tech (0-3-1, 0-0-0) 0
Skyline (0-0-0, 0-0-0) 0

Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Richmond (4-2-5, 2-0-2) 8
St. Mary’s (5-1-3, 2-0-1) 7
Albany (3-6-3, 2-2-0) 6
El Cerrito (2-9-0, 1-2-0) 3
Salesian (1-1-1, 0-1-1) 1
St. Joseph Notre Dame (1-6-1, 0-2-0) 0

TCAL Stone
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Hercules (9-2-1, 4-0-0) 12
Pinole Valley (5-3-0, 3-1-0) 9
De Anza (3-4-0, 2-2-0) 6
Kennedy (0-3-0, 0-2-0) 0
St. Patrick-St. Vincent (0-4-0, 0-2-0) 0
Swett (0-2-0, 0-2-0) 0

WACC Foothill
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Berkeley (9-1-3, 5-0-1) 16
Alameda (5-4-4, 4-2-0) 12
Mt. Eden (7-4-3, 3-0-3) 12
Castro Valley (3-5-3, 3-2-1) 10
Arroyo (3-6-3, 2-3-1) 7
Bishop O’Dowd (2-4-1, 2-2-1) 7

WACC Shoreline
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Hayward (9-2-1, 4-1-1) 13
San Lorenzo (2-2-2, 2-2-2) 8
San Leandro (2-7-1, 2-3-1) 7
Piedmont (2-5-1, 1-4-1) 4
Tennyson (1-11-1, 1-5-0) 3
Encinal (0-5-0, 0-5-0) 0

Stat Leaders

Name School Goals
Ayala, YV 15
Gala, Dougherty 13
R. Castillo, Hayward 13
Cendejas, Free 11
Reiter, CP 10
Williams, Mt. Eden 10
Solomon, Berkeley 9
Mendoza, Hayward
Grixti, Cal 9
Sandoval, Newark 9
Montes, Richmond 8
Raynor, Cal 8
Clark, FH 8
Gray, Hayward 8
Villegas, Mt. Eden 8
Bolender, Ngate 8
Foster, Ngate 8

Name School Assists
Gomez, Hayward 11
Damian, YV 10
Raynor, Cal 8
Croze, Aca 7
Foster, Ngate 7
Espinoza, St. Mary 7
Aguilar, YV 7
Solomon, Berkeley 6
Clark, FH 6
Goldstein, FH 6
Cendejas, Free 6
Greenberg, MV 6
Bolender, Ngate 6

Matt Smith

  • T. Powell

    Bishop O’Dowd 1 – Antioch 1

  • Bobo

    @ Neal, the boys program has been in a spiral for three years now and no not many attempts have been made to create fundraisers by the parents,boosters or coach. Things were mentioned but no follow thru. It isnt free to play either and think that fact along with club expenses families pay during the club season taps most out. As far as the boosters it seems every year the team owes boosters money instead of extra funds being available to the team from the boosters. The girls program on the other hand is in great shape. Something needs to change or it will be more of the same or less in coming seasons.

  • Bobo

    @ Mudhen, couldnt agree more.

  • HalaMadrid

    Went to yv vs the dons, got there and i was amazed, acalane’s players are big, they towered over tata, and tata is big, but then the game started, and instead of seing big boys over power the field with violant speed, and towering strength that you are used to in youth soccer, it was yv’s mids( whom are short) have their way with the wings with most the mid(dons had a few who had fight in them) so it was like a david and goliath story, and ironically acalanes players spent the game flailing and complaining to the ref…. And im there scratching my head did that boy half your size just meg, cut another and crack a third and all u do is complain to the ref that he pushed his shoulder against yours and you fell…. Auuuuch, but the game was great!!!! 50-50!! Any one could of had it, just dissapointed with acalanes not being able to factor their size, all their attacks were set plays…. But their set plays are rusty they could of easily had 10 goals just by set plays but instead of crossing the ball up high where their size would always win… They gave it back to yv… So that dissapointed me about the dons… But they are still good 🙂 nice game with ncs atmesphere…..

    Matt is that how acalanes plays??? With just set pieces??? If so they need to work on em, i now understand why they lost to seed 16 last ncs.

    And yv was crappy in defense, but thats soccer. Its a beautifull game where spirit and skill give you mid fielders like mendez aguilar and damian whom despite their size will tear at defenders who tower over them and leave them flailing behind, and before u take it from them they have already released it and the next shorty is confusing and dismentaling the other wing of defenders.

    Any other good games like last nights coming up??? Im hooked on this youth sport.

  • Shinguard

    Dons can get one dimensional…and creativity gets limited. The team is very athletic and in good shape and can hang for 80.

  • Itsabob

    Some good EBAL games this week.
    When the creativity does not show or gets stopped, teams that train for aggressive in the box play, generally can salvage a win or reenforce the score. SRV and De La Salle are some of the best at controlling the box.Its all part of the game no matter how ugly a goal might be.

  • HS Soccerfan

    Response to 351. I suppose we all see what we see at these games but I saw an evenly matched contest with some great battles at all positions. Dons had to deal with quickness of YV but they held their own in all facets of the game. We saw some Gretchen play at midfield attack, defense and goaltending on both sides and both sides will remember their lost chances and near misses but I will remember this one as one of the most enjoyable HS soccer matches I have seen. As a Don fan I tip my hat to YV as a class outfit that plays the game well. Let’ s hope we see more matches like this one with lots of end to end action.

  • Happy Feet

    Amador Valley 1 – Foothill 1: it was a perfect night for soccer for the cross town rivals. Nice size crowd on hand to witness an exciting game. The Dons took the early lead in the 1st half on a corner kick from the goalie’s right. Foothill goalie mishandled the cross and Connor Tait-Mole was there to slot it in. The 2nd half showed the good control the Dons have with the ball, with Foothill having trouble with control. But the ever dangerous Christian Clark scored with just under 5 mins remaining in the game to tie it up. Overall, a nice matchup. The rematch later in the season should be a good one.

  • Vapors

    Mission San Jose, 2 Logan, 2

  • al100%

    mt eden vs Berkley coming up its about to be a good game

  • MVAL Alumni

    @ DragonGrub #37

    After you finish smoking why don’t you come back down to the real world. Matt Baringer has some quality players surrounding him. Irvin Xu and Quinn Burnett to name a few. Piedmont is very young with only 4 players with 1+ year starting on Varsity. If he is so overrated why do teams have such trouble stopping him from creating multiple opportunities and constantly being dangerous, including the Dragons? Matt Smith is right not to pick a player from your roster, the Powell brothers aren’t playing this year. All your quality was in the past with players like Michael Garrick or Max Ornstil who could take over the game. You team does play very well together.