By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
LINDSAY – The high school soccer pipeline that is Lindsay High School continues to flow with the class of 2018. Last Friday two standout Cardinal mid-fielders, Marcos Ceballos and Agustin Valdovinos, signed national letters of intent to play for UC Merced next year.
Bobcats head coach Albert Martin stated in a speech before the signing they were getting two players with, “the total package.” The on the field roles both the four-year starts played however, could not be more different.
Ceballos was as true of a striker as they come. From the mid-forward position his feet were often the first the middle defenders looked for. Once he had the ball his agility made many opposing players miss on challenges.
Although, his quickness allowed him to get into open space it was his speed that provided him with most of his goals. Many opposing goal keepers had to react quickly before Ceballos was on top of them and firing his shot to one of the corners of the net. And there was no shortage of goals for Ceballos. Over his tenure at Lindsay he scored a total of 79 goals. During his junior year he broke the school’s single season record with 37. He also had 40 career assists, proving he is as good at passing the ball as he is at scoring.
His overall play helped the Cardinals remain dominate as well. He’s a part of four East Sequoia League Championship teams, and four Champions Cups, over their rival Farmersville, winners. Also, Ceballos played a role in sending the Cardinals to back-to-back CIF Division 4 Valley Championships. Winning one in 2016-2017 season.
Ceballos holds the teams’ accomplishments higher than his own. That however, does not mean he doesn’t have his fair share of individual accolades. Among the top he was named two-time team and ESL most valuable player. One more than his brother Ivan.
“It has always been a little friendly competition between us,” Ceballos said. “I just enjoy him knowing that his little brother had one more than him.”
One of the middle defenders hoping to feed Ceballos the ball was Valdovinos. His six-foot height was a real advantage going up for headers against opposing players. From the middle he was often shouting commands and directing his teammates on where to be.
Valovinos’ height made him a factor in the offensive zone as well. On many of the Cardinals’ corner kicks he was sent down inside the penalty box. Three inches taller than most of the players it allowed him to go up and head the crossing pass first.
While Valovinos’ scoring was limited to only 16 goals over his career three came in big games. During the 2016-2017 season he scored the tying to send their semi-final game over top seeded McLane to a shootout. He later scored the deciding goal sending the Cardinals to the title game. Where he scored in Lindsay’s 3-1 win as well.
A family orientated person Valovinos’ biggest worry was being away from familiar faces. Being able to continue his playing along side Ceballos was a huge factor.
“Being able to take one of my best friends with me kind of helps me ease into college,” Valovinos said.
For UC Merced, the signing of these two players filled a huge gap in their roster. When the college graduates a large number of mid-fielders this semester, both Ceballos and Valovinos could see immediate playing time in their freshman year. For Martins, their overall skill and passion for the game were the selling points.
“There is a reason they have won a lot of championships here and it is because of players like those two,” Martins said.