Los Angeles Soccer: Cate School
Boateng, 18, scored 32 goals with 19 assists to lead Cate to a 20-2-1 mark and the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 championship and win a second straight divisional Player of the Year honor.
“I’m very overwhelmed,” Boateng told ESPNHS. “I did not see this coming. I’m looking at the list of names of athletes who’ve won this before, and I can’t believe I’m anywhere near this list. I can’t believe I’m on it.”
National Soccer Hall of Famer Alexi Lalas, who won the Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year award in 1988, presented the award to Boateng. Previous winners include another Hall of Famer, Claudio Reyna, plus former U.S. national-teamer Chris Henderson, former MLS stars Matt McKeon, Nick Garcia, Kyle Martino and Alecko Eskandarian, and current MLS players Ned Grabavoy (Real Salt Lake), Jordan Harvey (Vancouver Whitecaps), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Eric Alexander (Portland Timbers) and Soony Saad (Sporting Kansas City).
Harvey, who played at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo and then at UCLA, won in 2002
Boateng, who carries a 3.75 grade-point average, is a junior but has enough credits to qualify for the NCAA and will play at UC Santa Barbara in the fall.
How good is he?
“In the 14 years I’ve been coaching in Southern California, I haven’t seen anybody close to as good as Ema,” Vishtasp Farhadi, the Development Academy co-director for Irvine Strikers, said in Gatorade's news release. “In terms of maturity and soccer IQ, he’s a very special player. He’s uniquely creative and has amazing vision.
"At the international Milk Cup in Ireland last summer, he became the only American to earn MVP honors in the 30-year history of that tournament. That puts him in the company of people like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Giovani dos Santos at the same age. Pretty good company.”
Read the full ESPNHS story here.
A No. 1 national ranking might come with it.
Los Osos, from Rancho Cucamonga, came into the game at No. 2 in the ESPNHS Fab 50 national rankings, and the Grizzlies (23-0-3) figure to rise after its 1-0 triumph. No. 1 Westview, from San Diego, was beaten by Carlsbad's La Costa Canyon in the CIF San Diego Section's Division II title game.
No. 5 Aliso Niguel, from Aliso Viejo, also could vault to the front after beating No. 4 San Clemente -- the only team it had lost to this season -- in Friday night's Southern Section Division 1 final. Carroll, from Southlake, Texas, is No. 3 in ESPN's winter rankings.
Los Osos was officially the underdog, seeded second, behind Fullerton's Sunny Hills (30-1-0), but they took charge after halftime as forward Ifeoma Onumonu sent in the ball for Hasan to finish.
“I haven't stopped crying yet,” Los Osos coach Mychal Armstrong told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. “These girls are such a great group. They deserve this.”
In other Southern Section finals Saturday:
Claremont 2, Bishop Amat 0: Goalkeeper Amanda Garvin made three spectacular saves and the Wolfpack (27-1-4) extended their shutout streak to seven games while winning the girls Division 3 championship, played, like all of the Southern Section girls finals, at Mission Viejo. Defender Taylor Fortson nodded home a corner kick in the 28th minute and Merin Arft tallied at the start of the second half to send Claremont past defending champion Bishop Amat (22-5-4), from La Puente.
Ventura High School's boys soccer team had scored 99 goals in its first 29 games. Marina's had conceded eight in its first 27. When the teams faced off in Tuesday's CIF Southern Section Division I semifinal, the advantage went to the Cougars.J.J. Leon scored a goal and assisted another -- delivering a cross for Erick Sandoval -- to send Ventura (23-0-7) to a 2-0 victory over their Huntington Beach-based foe (18-3-7) and into Saturday night's final against second-seeded Millikan (25-2-4).
The Rams, from Long Beach, rallied from a two-goal deficit after just 15 minutes to tie Los Angeles' Loyola (22-4-6) in the other D1 semi, then prevailed on penalties when Steven Barrera made two saves in the shootout.
Millikan, in its second final in four years, received goals from Kyle Nicolau before halftime and Jaime Salazar in the closing minutes.
In other CIF Southern Section boys semifinals:
Capistrano Valley 2, La Sierra 1: The Cougars (11-12-4), from Mission Viejo, scored twice in the final three minutes to upset Riverside's La Sierra (18-5-5) and reach their second straight Division 2 final. Kevin Baboiyan knocking home the rebound when Eagles goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez saved Dylan Browning's penalty kick, and Browning netted the winner a minute later, appearing to deflect the ball into the net with his upper arm.
Valley View 2, Coachella Valley 1: Danny Rivas scored with four minutes to go in regulation to tie the score and Miguel Hernandez tallied in overtime to lead the second-seeded Eagles (19-2-6), from Moreno Valley, to a 2-1 Division 2 triumph at Thermal's Coachella Valley (14-7-1).
Paramount 3, Santa Ana Valley 1: Tommy Osorio scored in the fourth minute, Danny Garcia in the 15th, and the second-seeded Pirates (21-4-3) continued their quest for a third successive Division 3 championship. It was Paramount's third postseason victory over the Falcons (17-8-2) in three seasons, including a triumph en route to the Southern California Regional championship -- the closest thing California has to a state title -- two years ago.
Channel Islands 2, Palmdale 0: Everaldo Fernandez converted a 62nd-minute penalty kick and Hector Mottu scored nine minutes later as the Raiders (19-2-4), from Oxnard, toppled Palmdale (25-4-0) in a Division 3 clash.
Cory Hodge delivered to Claremont High School its first CIF Southern Section boys soccer title in 17 years, heading home an overtime throw-in as the Wolfpack posted an improbable 3-2 victory over Capistrano Valley in the Division 2 final Saturday night at Mission Viejo High School.
Hodge outleapt Capo Valley's backline to flick Brennen Carter's throw-in into the net 5½ minutes into the extra period as Claremont (21-1-5) weathered a hectic finish to regulation and start to overtime to snare their second boys soccer championship.
Capistrano Valley, from Mission Viejo, twice rallied from deficits, with Kyle Smith knotting the score, 2-2, with 43 seconds remaining in regulation. But the Cougars (16-6-7) were twice denied winning goals, with Mario Soto's strike hitting the net just after time expired in the second half and a controversial offside call waving off Smith's redirection of Luis Vasquez's free kick three minutes into OT.
Steven Barba gave Claremont a third-minute goal, and Kevin Baboiyan pulled the Capo Valley even with a 56th-minute penalty kick after a Hodge hand ball. Carter restored the lead in the 65th.
Southern Section finals Friday and Saturday also were played at Warren High School in Downey.
In other championship games:
San Clemente 2, Santa Barbara 1
Kevin Gould and Bryan Fouch scored first-half goals and the Tritons (17-6-6) staved off a second-half surge by Santa Barbara to win their first boys soccer title. Gould knocked home a rebound in the 17th minute and Fouch tallied after a Fabian Caudillo takeaway in the final minute of the half. The Dons, who won the Division 2 championship last year and were seeking their seventh boys soccer title, applied heavy pressure throughout the second half and halved the deficit on Sanford Spivey's 57th-minute goal.
Paramount 2, Fontana 1
The fourth-seeded Pirates (18-2-6) claimed their second successive Division 3 title, holding on for the final half-hour after a red card left them with 10 players. Edgar Martinez scored in the first minute and Salvador Velasquez made it 2-0 after dispossessing a defender four minutes into the second half, but Fontana, which won three playoff games in overtime, applied heavy pressure after Alejandro Muñoz was sent off with 29 minutes to go. Mishael Cano tallied in the 78th minute for the Steelers. Paramount goalkeeper Tony Maldonado made a diving stop on Isac Fonseca's first-half penalty kick.