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Kofa's Marcos Garcia led team to regular-season goal record
Goals never came easy for Marcos Garcia. He'd have to weave the ball past four defenders, crossing 45 yards of the field, to even get a whiff of the net.
But that never stopped the senior midfielder, who scored 20 goals and tallied 15 assists for Kofa, which set a school-record 125 regular-season team goals.
For his effort the Yavapai-bound Garcia was named the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club 2010 All-Region Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
"He does the things that are intangible. For some players, numbers don't do them justice," Kofa coach Jamie Nicewander said.
It's a fair description for Garcia, whose scoring was ranked third on the Kings behind Jose Medina and Colby Carr. What made Garcia special was how he was able to score.
Garcia often took the ball in the middle third of the pitch. From there, most midfielders work the ball to the attacking third and then pass. Garcia, instead, kept going.
He would bring the ball all the way to the 18-yard box, avoiding the opposition, before taking a deep shot on goal. Often, his attempts hit nothing but net.
"I get goosebumps sometimes when he touches the ball, it was like 'What's he going to do now?'" Nicewander said. "Marcos has the unique ability to take a ball and just do magic with it."
But just as impressive as his performance on the field was Garcia's dedication in the classroom. After spending the first part of his freshman year attending Kofa, he left the U.S. to return home with his parents.
"I had a cousin (in Yuma), but she didn't like me playing soccer so I had to go back to Mexico," Garcia said.
After finishing the school year south of the border, Garcia returned to Kofa and lived with teammate Martin Campos. But Garcia still lacked the credits from his missed semester so Nicewander decided to aid in his studies.
"We'd get together on the weekends and I'd take him over to Kofa and we'd work on (studying) there, so he could get caught up on his credits," Nicewander said. "He accomplished an amazing amount of work in a very short timespan."
Now Garcia is poised to graduate and, because of his academic standing, able to pursue collegiate soccer. Something that was a dream of his.
"I really wanted to play soccer at the next level," Garcia said. "So coach was pushing me a lot."
Nicewander said his dedication to Garcia's studies were partially to improve his athletic potential. The other reason was because he was Garcia's godfather.
With Nicewander's guidance in the classroom and on the pitch, Garcia was able to put together an outstanding season as a student-athlete for the Kings, which earned a berth in the 5A-I State Soccer Tournament and were five AIA power points shy of earning a share of the Gila Valley Region Championship.
After beating Tucson High 6-1 in the opening round of the state tournament, the Kings were drubbed by eventual champion Tempe-Corona del Sol 4-1 in the tournament's second round.
Despite the successful season and impressive statistics, Garcia said it was that performance that will stick out the most in his mind.
"We didn't play good that day and we should have," said Garcia, regarding the quarterfinal contest. "It was a really good season, we had the most shutouts and the most goals. But I wanted to win, I wanted to get a state championship. That was my dream."
Though the season may have ended, the dream is far from over for Garcia. Already he's preparing for the 2010 season, his first as a member of the Roughriders.
Nicewander said the dedication he has seen since the tournament ended was remarkable.
"When our state playoffs were done, six days later he was already playing again," Nicewander said. "When Marcos steps on the field he'll make other people around him so much better."