Manuel Rosales

American Falls senior Manuel Rosales is the 2021 All-Area Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Manuel Rosales, Sr. (American Falls)

His name is Manuel Rosales. To most coaches in the area, he’s No. 10. And they aren’t quick to forget that because No. 10 caused them so many headaches this past year.

“He’s a baller,” Snake River coach Davey Adams said. “He’d make our guys stand on their heels and would just go past them. I’d be like, ‘Guys, quit watching the show.’ He’d bait us to jab at the ball and just go.”

Behind Rosales, the Beavers were dominant this season. They went 13-3-1, didn’t lose a conference game and concluded the year with an absurd goal differential of 110-17.

Heading into the state tournament – where American Falls eventually finished as the 3A consolation champions – Rosales had already scored 32 goals as his assist total climbed to 14, leading American Falls to a district championship.

Rosales’ ball-handling was on another stratosphere from his competition. His rare combination of skill and composure turned him into a tornado that swirled through the pitch. And game after game, Rosales found ways to help American Falls win. It’s why he’s the 2021 All-Area Boys Soccer player of the Year.

“He’s just super quick, could finish with both feet and could deliver the ball,” said Marsh Valley coach Devin Shurtliff. “Every game he was a presence. We ended up playing them five times and every game he showed up. In the last game, we had to designate a man to him the whole game.”

FIRST TEAM

GK Clayton Brown, Sr. (Pocatello)

A four-year starter for the Thunder, Brown has been a steady constant for Pocatello. An incredibly athletic figure in front of the goal, Brown showed extreme dexterity against hard-fired shots. He racked up almost 60 saves and recorded a half-dozen clean sheets.

Clayton Brown

Pocatello goalie Clayton Brown goes up for the save against Century in 2018

QUOTABLE: “He was never afraid to take chances, and his change in size during his high school years allowed him the length to make extraordinary, textbook saves where he laid out and put our team in positions to win.” – Pocatello coach George Asboe.

D Kevin Gonzalez, Sr. (American Falls)

The veteran of American Falls’ defense, Gonzalez was confident in one-on-one situations and rarely gave up much ground. The Beavers’ senior was often the ignition of AF’s offense, thwarting opposing attacks and starting his own.

QUOTABLE: “Kevin is fast and he watches the entire field and can keep up with the game regardless of where he is on the field. His eyes are always darting from place to place.” – American Falls assistant coach Caroline Wight.

D Trey Northrup, Sr. (Pocatello)

Northrup was the steadying force for Pocatello’s back line. Using superb soccer IQ and calculated aggression, Northrup was a big reason the Thunder only allowed 25 goals on the season.

QUOTABLE: “He has exceptional speed with precision 1 v 1 tackling technique; his ability to control challenges in the air was invaluable for us. He is very strong and held our line with great stiffness, as well as tremendous skill at tracking down breakaway opponents.” – Pocatello coach George Asboe.

D Brock Young, Sr. (Marsh Valley)

A tactful three-year starter, Young was a stalwart on Marsh Valley’s backline. He was a hope kiler for opposing offeses that brought the ball anywhere near him. What’s crazy is Young hasn’t been playing soccer for that long, but his incredible determination propelled him to success.

Brock Young

Marsh Valley senior defender Brock Young "was a wall," said MV coach Devin Shurtliff.

QUOTABLE: “He was a wall. I watched him a couple different games and he shut people down. We had a couple different opportunities and he’d just shut him down.” – Snake River coach Davey Adams.

MF Hunter Facer, Sr. (Preston)

Hunter Facer

Hunter Facer wins the ball in the air in 2020

Facer controlled the middle of the field for a Preston squad that went 3-1 in league play and made state. The senior was a consistent force that knew how to set up the Indians offense and stall opponent runs.

QUOTABLE: “Hunter was phenomenal team captain and led this team to get as far as they did. He disrupted the other team’s play and created a lot of build up from our midfield.” — Preston coach Kira Matthews.

MF Misa Reyna, Sr. (Blackfoot)

Blackfoot didn’t have the goal scoring it’s used to, but it certainly had opportunities – and Reyna was a big reason why. An extreme talent in the midfield, Reyna helped create opoortunaties and chances for the Broncos.

QUOTABLE: “There were games early on in the season where we were losing but I looked at him and thought he was still the best player on the field. Great passing range but could beat players one on one too. And had a great engine room too.” — Blackfoot coach Liam Pope.

Misa Reyna

Blackfoot seniors accept the district championship trophy

MF Victor Palacios, Sr. (American Falls)

Victor Palacios

American Falls' Victor Palacios (Red, #18) dribbles the ball through a snow-covered field during the 2020 state tournament.

Palacios knew how to step up his game in the biggest moments. He scored just three goals during the regular season – zipping passes to Rosales and AF’s other attackers – but netted a quartet during districts. It proves Palacios’ leadership qualities for a great Beavers’ team.

QUOTABLE: “Victor is extremely passionate. He has a lot of energy and he’s a team player. He helps navigate things from the middle.” – American Falls assistant coach Caroline Wight.

MF Dylan Call, Sr. (Marsh Valley)

Playing out of the midfield, Call flourished because of a phenomenal combination of finishing and passing ability. He had over 15 goals but made his mark as a willing passer who put goals on a platter for his teammates.

Dylan Call

Marsh Valley senior midfielder Dylan Call takes a corner kick this season.

QUOTABLE: “By far our biggest offensive threat. He controlled the midfield for us. In our state play-in game, he had three assists and a goal.” – Marsh Valley coach Devin Shurtliff.

F Parker Cromwell, Jr. (Preston)

Parker Cromwell

Preston striker Parker Cromwell controls the ball between a pair of Pocatello players in the championship match of the 4A District 5 Tournament.

Preston wasn’t the most offensively-procicant team in the area but its goals were timely and Cromwell’s clutch gene was a big reason why. The Indians’ junior striker scored 11 goals – almost a third of Preston’s total output.

QUOTABLE: “Parker Cromwell was our standout offensive player. He thrived in the pressure of us needing a goal and would the ball in the back of the net just when we needed it.” — Preston coach Kira Matthews.

F Blake Brown, Jr. (Pocatello)

Viewing Brown with the ball at his feet is like rewatching your favorite movie. You know what’s coming and it’s still incredible. Brown transformed into a masterful goal scorer, finding the back of the net 20 times. Not many people in the state were better at finishing.

Blake Brown

Pocatello junior Blake Brown kicks the ball against Century.

QUOTABLE: “He knows how to score goals and read players and what a defensive line is doing so that when a mistake is made he can capitalize and score.” — Preston coach Kira Matthews.

F Manny Bartolo, Sr. (Blackfoot)

A versatile option for Blackfoot, Bartolo found his home on the attack and helped the Broncos’ offense get back on track. It was because of Bartolo’s late-season goal scoring that Blackfoot won its district and earned a spot in the state tournament.

QUOTABLE: “Started in central midfield and was great but we weren’t scoring enough so we put him up front and we turned it around. Can play probably every position on the field and would do a good job.” — Blackfoot coach Liam Pope.

SECOND TEAM

GK Angel Rosales, Sr. (American Falls)

A senior, Rosales gave American Falls confidence. If something slipped through the defense, he was there to clean it up. Rosales only gave up 17 goals on the year – and only a trio to district opponents.

QUOTABLE: “Angel is a great leader who is never pressured and always knows how to play according to the situations of the matches. He always infects others with his positive attitude.” — American Falls coach Miguel Mata.

GK Andrew Theurnagle, Jr. (Marsh Valley)

Never afraid to hit the ground or slide into danger, Theurnagle made his mark as a brick wall in net for Marsh Valley – only allowing 26 goals on the year.

QUOTABLE: “What makes him stand out the most is the second save. A lot of keepers can make the first save but it’s rare they can make the double save. He’s one of the few who can get back up and make the second save.” – Marsh Valley coach Devin Shurtliff.

D JJ Higley, Sr. (Preston)

A senior force on Preston’s defense, Higley was stout against opposing attacks and was a big reason the Indians made the 4A state tournament.

QUOTABLE: “JJ was a huge part of the success that our backline had. He was quick and pushed his teammates to get stops and win games.” Preston coach Kira Matthews.

D Tayson Hepworth, Jr. (Century)

Hepworth quickly proved himself as the most-versatile presence for a Century team that lost a bunch of talent from last season.

QUOTABLE: “He’s a perfect, mature athlete. Great one-on-one defensive skills and never gets beat. He can focus for the whole game.” – Century coach Jamshid Roomiany.

D Marco Ponce, Jr. (American Falls)

Never afraid to take be aggressive on the backline, Ponce was a fierce defender who was fantastic at keeping the action in front of him.

QUOTABLE: “Marco is a brave player who will always give his all and will do his best so that there are no regrets after each game.” — American Falls coach Miguel Mata.

MF Tyce Shumway, Jr. (Preston)

Another center defensive midfielder alongside Facer, Shumway knew how to execute a game plan – whether the Indians were playing a team for the first time or fifth time.

Tyce Shumway

Tyce Shumway challenges Bonneville for a header.

QUOTABLE: “Tyce is extremely hard working and very consistent. I could give him any directive and I knew he would go out and get it done. He was great and getting stops and distributing the ball.” — Preston coach Kira Matthews.

MF Gabe Batacan, Sr. (Blackfoot)

Batacan was the leader of a Blackfoot defense that only allowed 33 goals en route to a state run.

QUOTABLE: “Fantastic in the deep midfield role. Won the ball and started attacks plus scored a few crucial goals too. He was absolutely tenacious in that deep role and protected the backline really well.” — Blackfoot coach Liam Pope.

F Markos Carranza, Jr. (Snake River)

Carranza was the leading goal scorer for the Panthers, including netting a hat trick against Aberdeen. Although Snake River had a tough season, he was one of the bright spots.

QUOTABLE: “His ability to draw a foul and work through multiple players was really fun to see. He drew people in and made opportunities.” — Snake River coach Davey Adams.

F Braden Magnuson, Jr. (Pocatello)

If we’re just counting the second half of the season, Magnuson would’ve been a first-teamer. The junior came on late, scoring nine goals and leading Pocatello with eight assists.

QUOTABLE: “He was a great compliment to Blake Brown, but his most valuable contribution to the team was his improvement and exceptional play during the end of the season and district tournament play.” – Pocatello coach George Asboe.

Braden Magnuson

Pocatello junior Braden Magnuson waits for the ball in a game against Century.

F Gavin Bissell, Sr. (Marsh Valley)

With more than 20 goals on his resume, Bissell was the leafing scorer for Marsh Valley. In the Eagles’ biggest game – a state play-in game against Teton – he had a hat trick.

QUOTABLE: “He just has a really good eye for finishing. He knows when to make his move and when the shot is there. He’s really good in the air, too. He scored a lot of goals with his head.” – Marsh Valley coach Devin Shurtliff.

F Julio Lopez, Jr. (American Falls)

Lopez probably could have scored more goals this season but, as an unselfish junior, he turned into a playmaker for the Beavers’ offense. In the regular season, Lopez notched a dozen goals and seven assists.

QUOTABLE: “He is a born scorer who never fails when he is most needed. He is always trying to improve to score more goals and contribute everything necessary for the well-being of the team.” — American Falls coach Miguel Mata.