Goalie spearheads push to BVC championship

Despite having the talent to play NCAA soccer, keeper opts for life of public service

By Efrain Valdez, Social Media Editor

After a season as captain and leading one the most competitive men’s soccer teams in Contra Costa College history, goalkeeper Eduardo Escamilla has been named The Advocate Male Athlete of the Year for 2016-17.

Escamilla had enough credits to leave CCC after his first year playing but still had another year of eligibility.

He wanted to come back because of the bonds he built with the coaches and his teammates. Also, it was to help continue moving the soccer program in the right direction.

“Hopefully the next players that come play for this team in the future can build something special from what we have accomplished over the last few years,” Escamilla said.

“He could have left in the spring of 2016 to attend the police academy but he wanted to stay and do another year of school,” coach Nikki Ferguson said.

Escamilla said aside from loving the game, he came back because this school has been good to him and he felt at home at CCC.

“I felt like I had a very tight bond with CCC and I wanted to continue to build that here,”  Escamilla said. “For this last season I set high expectations for myself and the team, we wanted to go further than winning the conference. We wanted to become a state title contenders.

“I tried to instill confidence in my teammates when morale was down in the tough moments, that’s something that stood out to me. It’s important to keep moving forward,” Escamilla said.

Even though the Comets lost again in the first round of the state playoffs. This time, against De Anza College in a heartbreaking 3-1 defeat.

Against the Dons, all of the goals were scored in set pieces but Escamilla had one of his best games of the season by keeping the team from getting in a deep hole early.

“He was a silent leader for us in the back, he was the captain because he was a doer,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said that he was a good leader because he just went out and played the game with total concentration.

“We could have given up many times but we didn’t, I was just trying to be a positive influence and just play the game,” Escamilla said.

Being a goalkeeper is a position that receives little praise in the world of soccer because they are only remembered for the goals they allow.

Ferguson said that Escamilla understood that he wasn’t a perfect player and he tried to understand that the ball had to get through 10 other players in order for it to get to him.

Napa Valley College men’s soccer coach Les Carroll said that in the final game against CCC Escamilla made some world class saves that held his team to a clean sheet.

“He played a great game that benefited his team and ultimately made the difference,” Carroll said about Escamilla’s final game.

Ferguson said Escamilla is a resilient player and person, also, that he stepped up on many occasions throughout the season.

Escamilla said that in his first season he developed his own style of play even though he was nervous when he first joined the team.

“In my second year, I felt much more comfortable, got a better feel for the game and set higher expectations to challenge myself,” Escamilla said.

As coach, Ferguson also saw the maturity level rise in his keeper.

“In his second year playing I saw a different side of him, he was opening up more with his teammates and became a more outgoing person,” Ferguson said. “As he opened up he became more conversational which created a bond and trust with his teammates.”

“We made history in my first year as men’s coach by winning the championship that our program hadn’t won in 10 years. We did it again by winning a second consecutive title,” he said.

Escamilla said it hurt to lose in the first round of the playoffs again and if he had a chance to play another year he would have done it.

He posted six clean sheets in the season which was the highest by a Bay Valley Conference goalkeeper in overall play.

Escamilla never had problems with his conduct on the field and was an exemplary leader and captain of the most successful team on campus this year.

This season was filled with consistent play, extraordinary highlights and constant leadership in the back for him.

He said he is extremely grateful for the time he has spent here on the team and at the school.

“I want to thank all of my teammates, past and present, I also want to thank my coaches for being a part of my athletic career,” Escamilla said. “We accomplished many things together.”