Vaqs score local superstar

Amelia Bechtel, Staff Writer, Amelia Bechtel, Staff Writer, and Amelia Bechtel, Staff Writer

He may be young, and this may be his first year at City College, but Antonio Naves is already the biggest goal scorer for the Vaqueros men’s soccer team.  
“He’s a great player,” said head coach Greg Morancey.
In his first five games this season, Naves scored six goals and four assists which placed him first in the state, he said.
“It’s almost a disease he is so good, because it means everyone else just gives him the ball and lets him do his thing,” Morancey told the Channels.
But Naves hasn’t always been a big fan of playing soccer, no matter how good he was.  
“At first I didn’t like it,” Naves said.
It was his father who took him to practices and pushed him to succeed. Eventually, after time his feelings for the sport changed.  
“I saw the TV and the famous players and I wanted to be like them,” he said.  
Naves started playing soccer eight years ago, around the same time he moved with his family to Santa Barbara from Guanajuato, Mexico. 
Now, he hopes to play for a professional team like Nacaxa someday- his favorite team from a league in Mexico. For now he is playing for the Vaqueros until he comes to the next step in his career. But how did City College find such a strong forward?  
“Antonio was kind of growing up with me,” said Morancey, who knew Naves way before he began to play for the college.
Morancey and Naves’ father, Jose “Pollo” Naves, played together for the Santa Barbara Soccer Club.  
“He’s a great player, we’re lucky to have him,” he said.  
Naves hails from Dos Pueblos High School, where he is one of the school’s all-time leading scorers. This has lead to his junior college success, but for many first year players this transition is not usually such an easy one to make.  
“At the beginning it was hard for him,” said team captain Roberto Melville. “He had just come out of high school, it was a different level of soccer.” 
Morancey recognizes the speed at which Naves adapted to the higher level of soccer. 
“Its fun to see him acknowledge every step,” he said.  
Even on the website for the men’s soccer team, under the results for the recent games, one can see Naves praised for his strong scoring skills. Phrases like “a beautiful goal” and “pure pleasure to watch” describe Naves’ ability to maintain control of the ball and his composure in these high-energy games.  
Despite the amount of praise Naves has received this season, he remains very modest and soft spoken. His appreciation for the togetherness of the rest of the team is very clear.   
“There is a lot of talent out there, and the communication is good,” Naves said of his team.  
The feeling is mutual among his teammates as expressed by Roberto Melville.  
“He’s a very important part of our team,” Melville said.
The future looks bright for this young soccer player, with his family and his team supporting him all the way.  
“I look forward to when he leaves here-to be one of his fans,” said Morancey.