DELANO, Calif. - Anytime Edgar Garza is on the soccer field he'll find something to be positive about. "I don't like to pick captains," said second year Chavez boys soccer coach Tony Mendez. "I tell my guys that captains emerge. Leaders emerge."
Garza did just that for the Titans not only this season, but on last year's section title winning team. "No one is going to tell you 'Oh become a captain or step up to that role," the junior said. "It's you becoming a leader."
Wise words beyond his years, this season he's been asked to use those words more often. "He gives us pep talks before games and during halftime," said senior forward Oscar Diaz, who scored a hattrick in Chavez's opening playoff win Tuesday night.
Garza has been finding the right words even when things were going wrong with a midseason slump. "It's tough but you have to keep your head up because if you don't you bring your team down," he said. "They look at you."
This year the team has been listening to him, but also looking at him, all over the field. "I've really been pleased with his performance everywhere I've put him," Mendez said. Garza started as a forward, then moved to midfield, then left back and finally his current position as center defensive mid.
While his play has helped the team move on to tonight's quarterfinal v. Rosamond, Mendez says his biggest leadership trait comes off the field. "Sometimes as athletes we forget that we're students first," Mendez said. "He does amazing in the classroom, always pushing himself and gives it his best effort in everything that he does."
The #3 Chavez Titans host #10 Rosamond in the quarterfinals of the D-V boys soccer playoffs at 6:00 PM.