BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Despite a difficult preseason schedule, the Mira Monte Lions soccer team has been able to pull off wins against Centennial, Arvin and Garces en route to the team's 8-0-2 record. Fourth year coach Ben Warren says the key to the team's early success is how his team controls the ball. "They're constantly chasing us," he said of other teams. "That can be disheartening to a squad when they're working, working, working and they're not winning the ball."
Aside from Mira Monte's possession, another constant has been the goal scoring from Jonathan Alvarenga. "I've been really surprised with how well he's done," Warren said.
Alvarenga is a sophomore and because he only picked up the game three years ago, had to spend a year playing on junior varsity. "Every game I scored like 3 goals and it seemed to be easy playing in JV," he said.
While Coach Warren wasn't sure if his game would translate to the varsity level, his play wasn't the only thing needing translating. "I didn't know English at all," Alvarenga said. "I only knew Spanish and it was really hard for me to go to school."
Three years ago, Alvarenga and his family moved to Bakersfield from El Salvador and while he initially struggled with learning a new language, he credits his soccer teammates in helping him make the transition a little smoother.
Through 8 games he's the team's leading goal scorer with 8 goals.