Los Angeles Soccer: Edgar Gonzalez
Jose Carlo “Kaku” Rodas (Hollywood/Marshall HS), 22; Edgar "Chato" Gonzalez (Huntington Park/Huntington Park HS and Mt. San Antonio College), 20; Jorge Figueroa (Los Angeles/Ouichi HS and Whittier College), 20; and Cameroonian Jean Justin Atchoukeu Mekonsto, 23, headed this week to the small town a little northeast of Mexico's southern tip to prepare for the start of the season in the second-tier Primera Division de Ascenso, according to Orange County-based agent Yiannis Koulouris, who helped put the deal together.
The signing announcement took place at the Guatemalan consul in Los Angeles, and more than 500 fans were awaiting the players at the airport in Coatepeque, Koulouris said.
The push for American-based talent is an initiative from new president Ronaldo Samayoa, a Coatepeque native who spent the past 20 years involved in Southern California's web of immigrant soccer leagues. He has hired former Xelaju coach Gabriel “Chato” Castillo and has prioritized promotion to the top-division Liga Nacional.
Rodas is well-known in Southern California for his time with Hollywood United and other local clubs. Gonzalez starred for state JC champions Mt. SAC and spent time in Mexico in Pachuca's and Estudiantes Tecos' systems. Figueroa played in Chivas USA's Academy, at Estudiants Tecos and for a spell in Manchester City's youth setup. Atchoukeu Mekonsto played in Cameroon and Spain and with several Premier Development League and National Premier Soccer League teams after moving to Southern California.
No. 1 Cerritos College and No. 2 Santa Barbara City College were upset in the first round of the state community college women's soccer playoffs.
On Tuesday, it was No. 3 Ventura's turn.
Another series of upsets has the Nos. 11 (Cypress), 15 (San Bernardino Valley) and 16 (Orange Coast) seeds playing Saturday for berths in the Dec. 2-4 state finals in Sacramento.
Jacqueline Lara (Buena Park/Valley Christian HS) scored a hat trick to lead Cypress (14-4-4) in a 4-0 rout of Ventura (18-4-0).
“This year's a weird year,” Ventura coach Steve Hoffman told the Ventura County Star. “I think you have to say Cypress is way better than their record says. I think they'll go to the state title game.”
The Chargers, who have won three state championships, the last seven years ago, will be home in one regional final against defending state champion San Bernardino Valley (14-5-4). The Wolverines won, 2-1, at College of the Canyons (14-4-3) as Mariela Ortega (Desert Hot Springs/Desert Hot Springs HS) and Milan Galloway (Rialto/Carter HS) scored in the first six minutes of the second half.
The other semifinal will match Cypress' Orange Empire Conference rivals Santiago Canyon (20-1-1), from Orange, and Orange Coast (14-4-4), from Costa Mesa. Santiago Canyon won the first meeting, 3-1; the second was a 1-1 tie.