The Live Oak High boys soccer team is in the midst of its best season in recent memory. Just how well the year turns out remains to be seen, but no matter what happens the rest of the way, it’s already been a memorable season. Junior forward Caleb Ojeda is once again the team’s leading goal scorer, defenders Andrew Bergholz, Juan Gomez and Hunter White have been stellar on the backline, and Abraham Garcia has excelled in the midfield for Live Oak. Of course, the Acorns have one of the best goalkeepers in the entire Blossom Valley League in senior Andres Rosales, who at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds has the potential to be a game-changer in every match.
“During the preseason (non-league matches before league play began), I wasn’t thinking this team could make it to where we are right now,” Rosales said. “All of a sudden, we lost one of our preseason games (to Pioneer), and that kind of got us a little angry. We had to keep fighting and work for what we wanted, and that motivated us in a big way. Now we’re hopeful to win league.”
The Acorns were set to play Del Mar Monday in what was supposed to be a showdown for first place. However, the game was not played because there were no referees to officiate the match. Rosales has always come up with spectacular saves, as his athleticism and talent often allows him to get his hands and feet on balls that would be out of the reach of most other high school goalkeepers. However, Rosales needed to mature and get stronger mentally after an incident last year in which he punched the goal post out of frustration, resulting in a broken right hand. With four games left in the season, Rosales was done, and so were the team’s hopes of winning a West Valley Division championship.
“We had to win that game to be in first (place), and we were winning that game, but we lost,” he said. “I had a lot of adrenaline, got mad and punched the goal post. I think I’ve changed knowing I was going to be one of the captains on the team. My mindset has changed to want to take this team to win a league title, and I have to be better than that and not lose my cool.”
Rosales actually missed the first two matches of this season due to restrictions from playing for the De Anza Force club team in the San Diego Surf Cup Showcase event. Even though Live Oak High lost to Gilroy High 2-0 in Rosales’ first game of the season, he noted it was the highlight of his season.
“I had goose bumps just to play at Live Oak and put on that uniform again,” he said. “I knew a lot of people from that Gilroy team, which brought back memories of when we used to play in each other’s clubs’ teams, so that hyped me up. I also saved a lot of shots throughout the game and thought I played well.”
Rosales knows he must improve in certain areas of his physical and mental game to reach his goal of playing for a four-year program, but he’s confident in time he will get it done.
“I need to learn the little things (of the position) because those little things can turn into big things later on,” he said. “Things like talking and connecting more with my teammates, and having a lot of pride whether we win or lose.”
In addition to having a goal of helping lead the team to a league title, Rosales also wants to earn the coveted Goalkeeper of the Year Award, which he won in his sophomore season.