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Mora helping Eagles to stellar start

December 26, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer
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A year ago the Southwest High boys soccer team struggled through mediocrity.

This year things are different. This year Southwest is arguably the best high school soccer team in the Imperial Valley, thanks largely to possibly the best player in the Valley, 16-year-old junior Joshua Mora.

On Dec. 18 Mora helped the Eagles kick off play in the Imperial Valley League by dishing out an assist as Southwest beat Brawley Union High 2-1 in double overtime. Tied 0-0 in the first OT, Mora set up teammate Luis Montes, who scored the first goal of the extra frame.

While his final statistics weren't as impressive as Montes, who scored two goals, it was the little things that Mora did, things that are sometimes unnoticed, that made the difference.

"I was just trying to be a leader and control the team to help keep them focused. Because if a player loses their head, then they can't control the way they play," said Montes, a team captain.

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"For me, I don't really concentrate on scoring and that's not what I'm trying to do. As long as the team does good and as long as we win, that's all that matters to me."

In tense situations like the game against rival Brawley, cooler heads usually prevail. That's where Mora comes into play.

During the summer Mora played on a United States national team that competed in the Junior World Cup in Sweden. It was there that he said he developed his skills in staying calm in tough games.

"Playing there helped me realize how to not stress during games. Since I'm the team captain I have to be the leader out there and stay calm. People don't realize it, but that's really important in soccer," said Mora, who has been playing competitive soccer for 11 years.

Along with his play against Brawley, on Dec. 6 in the La Jolla Country Day tournament, Mora scored the game-winning goal against La Jolla in the championship game to help the Eagles complete a 5-0 run in the tourney. He also earned tournament MVP honors.

Said Eagle coach Rafael Contreras of Mora: "Joshua is a very consistent player and is one of our hardest workers. He's one of my only players that I can put anywhere on the field and know that he'll play well for us. Of all the players I've coached, I think he has the most potential to go pro. That's how good he is. He just has a lot of good natural soccer skills."

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