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

  • Happy Feet – More shots to come from the Cal-Foothill game – worst case is tomorrow.

    3 more to 300!

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    BTW, On the oblong football front… GO NINERS!

  • Feint

    Looks like a full plate for the Spartans this coming week.
    Tuesday Away @ Cal 6pm
    Thursday @ Home vs Foothill 6pm
    Saturday also at Home vs Richmond @6pm**this is the posted time.

  • Itsabob

    EBAL is heating up this next week. Can you say “Game On”

  • Itsabob

    What happened at the Cal – Foothill game besides Cal dropping the game. Details???

  • Bobo

    Mt.Eden/Castro Valley game was a good one. Both teams had their chances CV is very tough at home.

  • Matt Smith

    Miramonte 2, Dublin 1

  • Bobo

    CV playing a 4-4-2 with no attacking midfield is making the scoring opportunities hard to come by. Only relying on the two forwards will only get you so far.

  • Bobo

    @Matt, curious. In your humble opinion what does CVHS have to do to get their swagger back after three very tough seasons?

  • Shinguard

    JV game Today
    DLS vs Foothill
    At De La Salle 2:00pm

    JV games you get to see some of the up and coming talent and some of these game are just as competitive and entertaining as a Varsity game.

  • soccerman

    @Happy feet- curious on how Cals defense and keeper looked? couldn’t make it, how did foothill score? I read in paper that the second goal was an own goal, what happened?

  • Itsabob

    #300 Curious did I win the date with Miss. Alabama? πŸ™‚

  • mudhen

    Bobo….Start winning. (Sorry man, that was too easy to pass up)

  • Matt Smith

    @Bobo I think that beyond winning more, which Mudhen is right about, they need to play with some confidence. I think if they could get one big non-league win, or one upset in the playoffs (if they make it) then it would be huge for them.

  • Bobo

    I get it Mudhen, winning is the easy answer. It seems deeper than that given the decline in the last three years. The program seems to be losing its best players to academys ect. and that is not helping.

  • Bobo

    Its seems after Peacock was let go the whole program went into a funk, no support ,no money and with a school the size of CV not much coming thru the pipeline for next years team. Really would like to stay in the HS program but it looks dim.

  • Matt Smith

    @Bobo You are right, support and interest in the program is very key in revitalizing a program.

  • Bobo

    Being that CV is half way through the season and NO fundraisers even mentioned (goodluck raising the fees next year) I doubt much progress in the revitalization dept. will be made. Not to mention being labeled (the rich kid school) by surrounding high schools not being able to afford new uniforms or gear when the so-called lesser affluent schools in the immediate area can is quite embarrassing. Unless of course still using Pele era uni’s is the current trend. πŸ™‚ Not trying to make the uniform thing the main issue but its little things like that will help develop a new identity and a visual seperation from the past.

  • Bobo

    Sorry guys, don’t mind me. Just a frustrated parent. πŸ™‚ Appreciate your input @Mudhen and Matt.

  • Matt Smith

    Kennedy 1, American 0 is what I heard.

  • Neal

    Bobo does CVHS have an active athletic booster club that you could approach about soccer team revitalization? I thought they had a very active one at one point. For a public high school I recall CV being pretty proactive regarding it’s athletic program and that was partially what drove the acquisition of the new facilities you have now. Have your attempts at volunteering to raise funds for new uniforms etc. fallen on deaf ears from other soccer parents or the school? I know some of their sports seem to fair well when it comes to support. I thought soccer would be one of them.

  • bobby

    when is the YV aca game today?

  • mudhen

    Ok Bobo, I’ve seen the boys play, and they are not without talent. But I have to say that the choice of tactics and positioning left me wondering, and that is a coaches job, if you get my point.

  • The Sweeper

    Bobby, 6PM at Acalanes is what Matt has published. Mr. Smith is planning to be there.

  • Matt Smith

    Sweeper is correct. 6:00 p.m. I’ll be there early to get settled in.

  • Matt Smith

    Checking in from Acalanes where we should have a very entertaining game tonight.

    I just wanted to chime in about the Dons No. 1 ranking. I would not move them down for the draw with Campo, but a second draw tonight and I might consider a one-spot drop. A win/loss and the decision is easy.
    However, a draw and maybe, but the problem is who do I bump up to No. 1? Cal lost and if YV doesn’t take it tonight, then it would be between MV and Acalanes.

  • Matt Smith

    Scores from today…

    Concord 1-0 Pinole
    Dougherty Valley 1-0 Granada

  • Matt Smith

    Richmond 2, Alameda 1

  • Matt Smith

    Time for kickoff…

  • Matt Smith

    Acalanes is man-marking Tata.

  • Matt Smith

    0-0 20:00 mark.

  • Matt Smith

    YV strikes first. 1-0.

    Nice ball in by Aguilar and a nice finish in the box by Mendez.

  • Matt Smith

    Acalanes nearly scored a couple times, and then finally equalized on a free kick put away by Max Mirner. 1-1.

  • Matt Smith

    1-1 halftime.

  • Shinguard

    @Matt…How is the battle in Midfield? and who is showing some speed upfront? What is the creativity factor?

  • Matt Smith

    The battle in the midfield is outstanding. Glascock and Damian are really battling it out. Lindgren, the Acalanes center defender/sweeper is making some great plays as is Aguilar for YV.
    Mendez is really becoming a lot to handle ont he win for YV.
    Both teams are creating opportunities. It’s very back and forth and pretty wide open.
    Van Oss is keeping Tata in check.

  • Shinguard

    Great breakdown Thanks

  • Matt Smith

    Speaking of Tata, he got some space, ripped a right-footed laser near post, and it was tipped away by Rogstad.

  • Matt Smith

    Lindgren’s long thow has really been a force. If I’m picking a man of the match, I’m picking Lindgren for Acalanes and probably Aguilar for YV.

  • Matt Smith


  • Matt Smith

    Rogstad has been very good as well. Tata made a great turn in the box, surely was going to score and Rogstad came out and cleared it.

  • Matt Smith

    What a game. Narrow misses, balls off the crossbar, both teams pushing late for the winner…

  • Matt Smith

    1-1. Final.

  • Shinguard

    Tuesday at Cal…now back to the 49rs

  • Jogabonita

    Very entertaining game despite Acalanes boring long ball, long throw, and set pieces. Would LOVE to see them match up again in NCS.

  • StatsTalk

    Is two consecutive ties enough to bring the dons down from the top?

  • EBaysoccermom

    I guess I need to see the Dons mid season; when they scrimmaged MV over Tgiving weekend they weren’t all that impressive and MV handled them well with 2-0 by half– the lights were delayed in coming on so the ref called the game with at least 20 remaining. MV wasn’t a full squad due to club commitments and I might venture to guess that was the case with the Dons. Perhaps they’ve found their groove but it’s unfortunate that the Mustangs and the Dons won’t face each other again this season.

  • 11 v11

    Great game tonight.
    Would be great seeing these two teams again in NCS .

  • BusquetsTheDiver

    I find it pretty amazing when goal keepers are able to reach the top corner of their net while being at the opposite post. A huge round of applause to YVs keeper Rodriguez, would have kept a clean sheet and a win for his team if weren’t for a blurry set piece. Dons keeper played well, shots straight towards him made him look as well as he did.

  • BusquetsTheDiver

    I find it pretty amazing when goal keepers are able to reach the top corner of their net while being at the opposite post. A huge round of applause to YVs keeper Rodriguez, would have kept a clean sheet and a win for his team if weren’t for a blurry set piece. Dons keeper played well, shots straight towards him made him look as well as he did.