All Star soccer returns to Central Valley

Top high school soccer players compete in Central Section All-Star game in Lindsay; West girls team beats the East 1-0 under leadership of Tulare Western’s Scott Rogers

(Kason Clark)
Kason Clark
Published June 18, 2024  • 
11:30 am

LINDSAY – While the soccer season ended all the way back in winter, the game made its return with the Central Section All Star game this past weekend. In Lindsay, the best high school soccer players from across the Central Valley competed and showcased their skills.

This past Friday, June 14, the weekend started with the West and East girls teams playing one another. It was a defensive battle that the West team pulled out for the 1-0 victory. Regardless of the result, the all stars enjoyed getting the chance to play against the best of the best. 

“I’m really thankful that I got this opportunity to do it,” Mt. Whitney freshman Ari Diaz said. “I had a lot of fun getting to play with all these girls that I see through the season. I’m glad that I got to work with them instead of against them.”

On the West team, players from Mt. Whitney, Redwood, Golden West, El Diamante, Central Valley Christian, Tulare Union and Tulare Western played in the contest. The East team was made up of players from Monache, Dinuba, Lindsay, Porterville, Strathmore, Orosi, Immanuel, Woodlake, Granite Hills and Exeter. 

The coaches appreciated the chance to coach these players. Tulare Western’s Scott Rogers got the opportunity to coach the West team for the first time in his career, so he enjoyed working with the best talent in the Central Valley. 

“With this level of players, it makes it easier and so it’s just a matter of putting players in the positions in which they feel more comfortable,” Rogers said. “It’s fun for them to get that last chance, especially for these girls that have already graduated.”

The strong talent on the field translated to an even-matched game on Friday night. Through most of the first half, neither team could break through as it remained a scoreless tie. But late in the half, the West team got a couple shots on goal. The first couple shots failed to connect, but Diaz got the rebound and knocked it through to give the West the 1-0 lead. 

“It was definitely a team effort,” Diaz said. “We all worked together and then I was just in the right spot at the right time and I just finished it.”

The West took their lead into halftime and it remained a defensive battle in the second half. As the East failed to break through for the score, the West team hung on for the shutout win. With it being her first all star game, Diaz was excited to get the victory. 

“It feels really good since both teams were equally good,” Diaz said. “I’m really proud of us for not ever playing together, for coming in and being able to have a shutout and take the win.”

Tulare Western’s Morgan Escobar dribbles the ball in the Central Section All Star Game at Frank Skadan Stadium this past Friday night. (Kason Clark)

While Diaz scored the lone goal of the night, El Diamante’s Sami Cloutier was named the West MVP of the game for leading the defense in a shutout victory. Along with Cloutier’s performance, Rogers was happy with how the entire West defense played against the best soccer players from the East.

“We just dominated the game. I think we only allowed one shot on goal,” Rogers said. “We were good all the way around.”

The All-Star festivities continued throughout the weekend. Later on Friday night, the North girls team won, 3-0, against the South. Sanger’s Ava Martinez scored a pair of goals while fellow Sanger Apache Andrea Alvarenge scored another. This past Saturday in the boys contests, the East pulled out the 1-0 win over the West while the South won, 3-1, against the North. 

Kason Clark
Reporter