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

    All this conversation about the Concord field is absurd. As a player, I had to play Concord in the NCS semifinal, and the discussion of the quality the field became a hot topic. However by no means should a team blame a loss or bad game based on the pitch. It plays a factor throughout the game but you need to adapt and play better. I can garuntee the

  • T. Powell

    All this conversation about the Concord field is absurd. As a player, I had to play Concord in the NCS semifinal last season and the discussion of the quality the field became a hot topic. However by no means should a team blame a loss or bad game based on the pitch. It plays a factor throughout the game but you need to adapt and play better. I can guarantee there are many other worse fields in the WACC especially when in rains.

  • Itsabob

    @Hayward…you are correct my point was that SoCal has a strong JC league all with fairly good to very good teams.
    Up here the selection is just limited. Bottom line is try and find a path that gives you the education along with your sport. Kids and parents need to do the homework also, register with NCAA, make contact at ID camps, send emails to coaches and colleges that you are truly interested in and request information. This is all needed besides just playing in Showcase Tournaments….Its the rare player that is approached first by a school.

  • Itsabob

    PS Academy Programs and State HS school associations..i.e. CIF should come to agreement on a 3 month rule that these players by individual choice can participate fully with there respective High School.

  • futbol101

    El PATA

    You are making this field issue too dramatic…. so its a horrible field and some schools have turf.

    Dont make it a “world thing” …. ect ect.
    The field played a roll. Kudos to the winner.

    Before i mentioned about the coaching, it was with no disrespect. Thats why i added the maybe. Had to hear more thoughts.

  • Stewie

    MDUSD..how in the hell do you spend so much money on new lights and on Building and Solar…at Concord HS…that you could not lay down a good turf field that would be of a true benefit and value to the school and the community.

  • Bobo

    Mt Eden @ Castro Valley tonight. Make or break time for Castro Valley.

  • Neal

    Hear hear T. Powell. Lots of crappy fields but both teams have to play on them. Would love to have all HS’s enjoy lovely manicured grass fields but that’s not our reality. I wanted to mow the lawn of my alma mater HHS when the Dragons played there one year. HHS won but they had to suffer through their field as much as our boys did.
    The ball took some funny bounces both ways I recall. Berkeley at Alameda tonight? I am going to try to make that one at Thompson Field.

  • Old Hayward High GK

    @ItsaBob you know your stuff man! SoCal is incredible in JC for example Mt. Sac, Golden West, I can go on. I think the problem is that first generation families aren’t educated once it comes to college ball. In my situation I learned all the material really late in the game. I had my offers and looks but too late to receive any money. I totally agree with you. Everybody waits for that school but it’s really hard to get at that look without an email or ID camp.

  • Dval1

    I was at the Northgate – Concord game last night. This is my take…

    Northgate is overrated and it showed last night. Northgate had 0 shots on goal. With Concord having a field player become the starting keeper. why wouldn’t you take shots? Northgate was lucky to lose 1-0, that game should have been at least 3-0 in favor of Concord.

    Concord showed a lot of heart last night. Kids that kept coming off the bench were working very hard during the game. Concord did stall the game a little bit in the last 10 minutes. What team doesn’t stall when winning towards the end of the game?

  • T. Powell

    Neal, if I recall that was two years ago right? Every time I think if that game I laugh to myself. Sure was frustrating as a player losing that game especially how the goals were scored.

  • Neal

    T. Powell, yes, that’s correct! Lots of odd bounces, it was pretty funny. I remember asking one of the HHS players why they didn’t play on the football field and he told me it was just as bad. We both laughed.

  • The Sweeper

    With Cal’s loss to Foothill, that leaves Acalanes as the last team without a loss, or even a tie. Quite impressive, but they play five matches and face three ranked opponents in the next nine days.

    With back-to-back matches at #12 Campo tonight and hosting #3 YV tomorrow, plus hosting #6 SRV next Saturday, the Dons will be tested.

    I will see the Campo and SRV matches, but I have an appointment at Candlestick tomorrow evening. It would be great if the YV match tomorrow was moved up from 6PM to noon.

    See you at the pitch!

  • The Sweeper

    All of this talk about bad grass fields versus groomed turf makes me laugh. Back in the day…

    See you at the “plitch” (plastic pitch)!

  • Dval1

    It’s 100% guaranteed that Acalanes will sit back against YV on Saturday. I want to see Acalanes come out and play soccer and prove to everyone that they are the true #1 team. We all know this won’t happen but, we can sure hope it does.

  • East Bay

    The outstanding keeper for Concord who had just saved a PK by College Park in Tuesday’s game, fell in a heap after kicking the ball to his forwards. No one was around him when he fell. He has apparently suffered a serious injury. I did not talk to him, but I think he caught his cleat and slipped on Concord’s messy field. There were several other possible injuries in the game related to the field. Poor fields are about more than poor soccer play. The field does not have to be turf, it just has to be safe.

  • Matt Smith

    You guys need to get me to 300 comments this week, and at some point to 500 this year.
    We should aim to break last year’s record of 1,035. Who’s with me?

  • EB

    I think it’s the least we can do for keeping such a well written blog Matt. Really appreciate what you’re doing!

  • The Sweeper

    I am in. You can count on me for plenty of blather and references to SCOTUS. Who will be 267?

  • 268

    Not me. I’m 268.

  • Stewie

    heading out to Las Lomas game

  • Nacho Don

    Wait, I thought we had 300 just about Concord’s field?

    Way to go Foothill! Nice win over Cal.
    If you ain’t in the EBAL, then you wouldn’t understand. Next Tuesday will be epic! Rivalry round…
    DLS vs Cal
    MV vs SRV
    Foothill vs AV
    Livermore vs Granada

  • The Sweeper

    0-0 @Campo after 20 with good action

  • Neal

    All zeros at Alameda – Berkely at half

  • The Sweeper

    0-0 @ Campo at the half. Dons starting to impose their will to no avail.

  • Neal

    Berkeley 1 – 0 over Alameda

  • The Sweeper

    0-0 @Campo with 20 left

  • Happy Feet

    Foothill 2 Cal 0 – the defense for the Falcons was something to see. Quero had a fantastic game helping to shut down the Cal forwards. Clark, who always gets the attention of 2-3 opposing players whenever he touches the ball, opened up the gaps for the Falcons. Game could have easily been 3 or 4-0, with many chances for the Falcons just missing..

  • foothillfan

    Thanks for the love Nacho Don. Should be a good one at Amador Tuesday!

  • The Sweeper

    0-0 with 10 left

  • The Sweeper

    0-0 final at Campo

  • Jose

    Logan 3 Irvington 1

  • soccer fan

    Mt eden vs castro valley 0-0 . They had juan villegas well mark .

  • T. Powell

    Bishop O’Dowd 2 – Arroyo 1

  • Matt Smith

    Berkeley 1-0 Alameda

    Nine straight wins.

  • EBU

    EBU 3-0 FC Barcelona

  • EBALDad

    #1 and #12 team play to a tie!

    still # 1 ??

  • The Sweeper

    Acalanes is still unbeaten. They are 2-0-1 vs Campo. Let’s see tomorrow’s result against #3 YV before moving the Dons below MV. HAH!

  • Stewie

    Las Lomas beats Alhambra 2-1
    Whistle was continues all through the game absolutely no rhythm could be established. Las Lomas drilled a free kick from the 23 yd spot. Alhambra had a deflected shot by Las Lomas GK that was rammed home on follow-through to tie but AR called off-side and goal was disallowed.

  • Neal

    Alameda put up a good battle but Berkeley seemed to control the ball in the 2nd half. Berkeley #7’s goal was nice off of a good ball into him from the corner.

  • Jose

    Newark 1 Washington 1. Logan back on top alone ahead of Newark in MVAL.

  • SCP

    Hercules- 3 Berean – 1

  • SCP

    January 8

    Hercules- 5 St.Pat- 0

  • CTR

    Huge upset!!
    Mission San Jose, 2 Moreau, 4
    Moreau came out strong! Quite a surprise. Missio could not capitalize on chances whatsoever. This is not the same MSJ team I saw before.
    What will happen? A rise in Moreau? Or a downfall/reinvention of MSJ? Exciting soccer in MVAL lately!

  • Doing my part to get the count to 300….

    So I caught the last 30 minutes of the Cal – Foothill game last night. Over the last few years Foothill has really upped their game against Cal and last night they pushed it over the goal line. They looked really strong relative to prior years over a Cal team that that has been bitten by the injury bug.

    I have posted a few pictures of a Foothill forward and the Cal goalie mixing it up along with a nice shot of a Foothill player wearing a soccer ball on his head. Check them out at the following link:


    More colorful multi-megapixel details in categorized galleries to come…

    BTW, I am hoping to shoot the SRV Acalanes game next week, pictures of last years match are here in case anyone wants to relive it:


    and while I am shamelessly plugging things… here is the absolutely crazy finish of the SRV Richmond game last year:


    Chris the FJ Photoguy

  • DFAL4

    I wouldn’t advocate moving acalanes down due to their tie against Campo tonight. Campolindo is a pretty young team that showed some strong potential tonight. After seeing them fall 0-4 to Acalanes at an away game earlier this season, their defense tonight looked reenergized and solid. With both sides having controversial
    nullified goals, I think both these teams looked pretty even.

  • Matt Smith

    Dublin v. Miramonte, anyone?

  • Ebal12

    Rumor has it that MV may be getting their starting Centerback from last year back from injury this upcoming week

  • StatsTalk

    if Acalanes where to lose tomorrow night, they should be moved down. and YV moved up

  • Happy Feet

    Chris G, thanks for the photo shots…great action photos! I will be at the Amador vs Foothill game on Tues. Will give my assessment Tues evening…