The real question this year in the race for the MVP title will be if the Bay Valley Athletic League goes back to having a defensive and offensive MVP. Last year, the girls saw Kaytlin Brinkman (Freedom, offense) and Jenae Packard (Heritage, defense) win it in their respective categories while the boys unanimous pick was Pittsburg’s Andres Perez. Nonetheless, this list is approached with the idea of a sole MVP for both the boys and girls.
Leading MVP candidates - Girls
Tatiana Elsea (Liberty)
Elsea is by far one of the strongest players in the BVAL. This year she settles into a defensive position, but in the past has shown versatility when placed at any offensive position.
Izzy Midgley (Freedom)
With Kaytlin Brinkman gone and playing at the college level, Midgley is going to step up big time for a young Falcons team. The senior scored five goals last season. She has the ability to put up more numbers offensively as Freedom’s No. 1 forward.
Sarah Smith (Heritage)
Regarded to be one of the best defenders in this area by many soccer coaches, Smith is a three year starter for Heritage and has made the BVAL All-League team every single time.
Other top players to watch
Jordan Gregory (Liberty) - Has a lot of speed on defense and possesses a notable high soccer IQ.
Briana O’Dell (Freedom) - Only goalkeeper to be mentioned on this list, recording 97 saves last year and has 15 saves this year in just four games.
Sarah Figueroa (Deer Valley) - Deer Valley’s top scorer with 13 and only returning senior.
Litzy Ramirez (Pittsburg) - Has been a key stable for Pittsburg’s program as a forward.
Ilana McDonald (Antioch) - Is dealing with some injuries but provides lockdown defense when healthy.
Renny Buchanan (Heritage) - Even as a sophomore, she is a veteran among a team that fields 6-7 freshmen in its starting lineup
Leading MVP candidates - Boys
Elias Orocio (Heritage)
Orocio is the only active member of the 2015-2016 Heritage team that won its first BVAL title in school history. The senior has been a key component in the program since, coming second in goals with four his sophomore year and leading the team with eight goals his junior year.
Alberto Padilla (Freedom)
Not only did Padilla have his first year of high school soccer last year, he killed it. The current sophomore earned second team All-BVAL honors and was the Prep2Prep NCS Freshman of the Year in 2018, leading Freedom in goals with 12.
Ian Scheringer (Antioch)
The senior has been putting tearing it up in non-league play, racking up eight goals, several of them coming in the same game. With all due respect, for Scheringer to be in the talk for MVP, he will need to perform the same way in BVAL play against much tougher opponents.
Other top players to watch
Quatama Massaquoi (Pittsburg) - A football player turned futbol star. The sophomore has speed and strength that defenders in the BVAL will have trouble controlling.
Liam Gammond (Antioch) - It has been a slow non-league play for Gammond but last year he showed his ability to finish the ball with 14 goals.
Basel Abmualish (Heritage) - A key contributor for the Patriots offense.
Damian Garcia (Liberty) - On a struggling Liberty team, Garcia stands out defensively on the pitch.
Bryan Cruz (Freedom) - Cruz has split time with freshman Jorge Villasenor, but Cruz has the high school soccer experience to edge it out. Recorded a nice 69 saves last season
Chris Hackney (Deer Valley) - The senior plays a huge leadership role in running practices, and has the speed to go toe-to-toe with many attacking players.