Camarillo’s success is predicated on the pass

Boy is hitting a ball by his head.
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During Tuesday’s workout, Camarillo High junior forward Joel Gonzalez, left, demonstrates to a trio of teammates that the best passes in soccer don’t always require using a foot. © Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Rick Perry could be president of the United States one day.

For now, though, Perry’s calling is to help guide the Camarillo High boys’ soccer team toward the playoffs.

A senior tri-captain and the Scorpions’ only four-year varsity member, Perry claims this season’s collection of talent is the finest he’s seen during his time on the ACHS pitch.

But, the team’s reigning MVP adds, there’s more to Camarillo’s quick start—ACHS was 6-1-1 entering Thursday’s tournament in Santa Barbara— than just talent alone.

“Team chemistry is what leads to our success,” said Perry, a starting center midfielder who also contributes at defender. “That’s our strength right now— the chemistry we have. . . .

“We’re talented, for sure, and those two things will help us go far this season.”

In his seventh year at the helm, Camarillo head coach Jesus Duran’s passion for teaching soccer is stronger than ever.

On Tuesday morning, as the school’s sprinkler system soaked the post-practice playing surface, Duran spoke glowingly of his current crop of players, of their dedication and skill-sets.

Regarding Perry, Duran remarked: “ He’s a winner. He knows how to win, and he wants to win. Those are things you can’t teach. They have it in them or they don’t. But it’s contagious because when (Perry) is on, the whole team goes with him.”

Duran envisions beautiful soccer being played on the Camarillo pitch from now until the end of the season.

Crisp, quick passes. Constant possession of the ball. Defenders, midfielders and forwards migrating toward an opponents’ woodwork, all looking to set up a perfect, backbreaking strike.

The team’s coach-implemented catchphrase is “toque toque,” Spanish for “touch touch” or “pass pass.”

It’s like Camarillo is trying to rip a page right out of the Barcelona playbook—not that there’s anything wrong with borrowing from the preeminent team in professional fútbol.

“Keep the ball moving and keep the passes simple,” the coach explained.

“If you don’t have possession and movement of the ball, it makes it really difficult to succeed. In our league, that’s the way all the schools play, from Pacifica to Oxnard to Hueneme to Channel Islands. It’s all about possession, moving together and finding—like Barcelona—the key weakness and attacking it.”

The Scorpions’ standard formation is a 4- 4- 2 ( four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards), but Duran will go to a 4-3-3 setup when the team needs increased offensive firepower.

Juniors Carlos Tiscareno and Joel Gonzalez are Camarillo’s starting forwards.

Tiscareno led the team with five goals entering Thursday’s action while Gonzalez had found the back of the net on four occasions.

Gonzalez, a cross country star, uses his superior speed to blow by defenders.

Tiscareno has a combination of flash and power that can leave the opposition in a daze.

“He has moves beyond his years,” Duran said of Tiscareno.

“He’s big, strong, fast and aggressive. The only thing we’re trying to tweak is to get him to release the ball a little bit faster so he can make his teammates better.”

Tiscareno is a soft-spoken striker. He said some of his best friends are on the team and that the bond the Scorpions have formed will help them prevail against a plethora of powerhouse Pacific View League programs.

“We like to have fun,” Tiscareno said. “We enjoy playing the game together.”

Seniors Diego Ortega, Xavier Aragon and Perry form threefourths of the starting midfield.

Ortega and Perry play in the center while Aragon lines up on the left side.

Juniors Giovani Valdez and Jesus Valdez have split time on the right side of the midfield.

Ortega, also a team captain, fancies himself as a playmaker.

He had four goals and three assists in the Scorpions’ first eight matches.

“I have to get the ball and distribute it,” Ortega said, “and always know where to go next with the ball. Even before the ball gets to my feet, I have to know where it needs to go next.”

Duran trusts Ortega to make critical decisions on the fly.

“He’s probably the most talented player I’ve had in 20 years of coaching,” the coach said of Ortega. “His vision, his aggressiveness, his first touch.

“What makes him special is he’s always looking to make his teammates better. He started doing that last year. He let go of his ego to make the team better, and that’s what puts him beyond everyone else.”

Freshman Daniel Zamorez has also seen time at midfield and played well, Duran said.

Camarillo’s starting back line features seniors Casey Quintero and Taylor Keairns in the middle, junior Karl Lind at left back and junior captain Mathew Lariviere at right back.

Listed at a generous 5-foot-7 and 143 pounds, Lind is a bulldog who plays much bigger than his measurements would indicate.

Keairns is a three-year varsity member who brings moxie and leadership to the middle of the defense.

Lariviere, also in his third varsity campaign, is the team’s top overall defender, Duran said. Lariviere is an offensiveminded enforcer who loves putting shots on goal.

Senior goalkeeper Teagan Lybrand starts in the cage.

Lybrand, who can also man forward if called upon, has been both consistent and spectacular between the pipes.

“He gives us leadership and calmness in the back,” Duran said of the Scorpion goalkeeper.

“The guys know that even if the other team gets through our defense, he’s going to come through for them. We haven’t had that in a while.”

Seniors Tanner Van Vorst, Devin Hinds, Tyler Erickson, Nicholas Westfall and junior Matt Lopez are other contributors for Camarillo.

Lonie Sizemore coaches the junior varsity team and assists with the varsity club.

Camarillo’s first PVL match of the season is set for Jan. 5 at Channel Islands.

“ The league is up for grabs,” Duran said, “and this year we are one of the favorites to go to the playoffs.

“C.I. is the No. 1 team. C.I. is playing amazing soccer. But if we don’t go to the playoffs this year, for me and the players, it would be a big disappointment.”

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