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Senior defender protecting Kings into playoffs
If you can't shoot, you can't score.
That's Kofa's defensive philosophy, and with senior stopper Ivan Mosqueda it's worked out pretty well.
In soccer, the stopper is both center fielder and the quarterback of the defense. Leadership, athleticism and communication are all skills Mosqueda transfers to the field.
“He's the link between our defense and our midfield,” said Kofa coach Jamie Nicewander. “You want someone who can pass the ball well, you want a battler. They call him an anchor. You want someone that can battle the ball and also shift the point of attack so when another team's attacking down the middle of the field, you want someone who can force that ball one way or another.”
Mosqueda's been a varsity player since his sophomore year and a part of the program all four years.
“I pretty much just keep a check on the guys, make sure they're doing everything right,” Mosqueda said. “Talk to them, all that stuff. We have our motto, ‘Talk, talk, talk, touch, touch, touch, first to the ball.' That's just what you have to do.”
Although communication is a key part of Mosqueda's position, he excels in other areas that aren't often looked for in a stopper.
“Ivan has stood out exceptionally well this year in battling for the ball in one-on-ones,” Nicewander said. “That's what I've heard most coaches say: ‘Who is that kid?' Normally you see that from an attacking midfielder or something like that. He's done very well for us, he communicates well, he's one of our stalwarts back there.”
Mosqueda was born in Yuma but grew up in Mexico until he was in second grade.
“It was kind of tough coming here because I didn't really know the language,” he said. “When I started learning English, it was easy because I was so young, so I learned at a young age.”
Mosqueda kept that drive both on the field and in the classroom.
“He's a great young man,” Nicewander said. “He's really motivated. He's all about his team, which is really important. He's an AP (Advanced Placement) student, so he doesn't just go to school, he's not going through the motions. He's actively pursuing and trying to be the best he can be intellectually. He's polite, well spoken, his teachers all have great things to say about him and those are all things that make a great role model for what Kofa Kings soccer should be.”
After missing out on the playoffs last year, Mosqueda knows this is his final chance at a championship.
“Obviously last year we had a great team and we thought if we made it to state, we'd have a really good chance,” he said. “We'd like to prove that this team is actually just like last year, a very good team. We'd like to go all the way.”