CCS Freshman of the Year
NATE DOW, APTOS
It usually takes a combination of skill, experience and leadership to effectively man the final line of defense on the soccer pitch, especially from the center back position. With that in mind, Aptos freshman Nate Dow played with a maturity beyond his years for the Mariners this season, taking control of the defense and shining a light on a bright future for the program.
“At first, I was a little skeptical. But as soon as he showed his technical ability, work ethic and soccer intelligence, he controlled things and also became a leader in communication for our team,” said Aptos coach Roberto Zuniga. “Nate displayed leadership qualities you would expect from a junior or senior.”
Dow certainly entered with the proper pedigree, having prepped for his high school years at the younger levels of the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy teams. He entered his inaugural high school campaign with a desire to prove himself at the varsity level, and succeeded from the outset. By the end of the season, his performance had impressed other coaches so much that he was a first-team all-SCCAL selection.
“We knew he had a lot of drive from the very beginning,” Zuniga said. “But the last league game, against Scotts Valley, he got knocked out of the game with an injury. He refused to stay out, however, and insisted on getting back in to protect our lead. The game went long in stoppage time, and he made some great tackles, and prevented multiple scoring opportunities.”
Dow’s defensive performance and leadership was key in that shutout win over Scotts Valley, one which moved the Mariners into third-place of the final league standings, improving their seeding heading into the league tournament. Aptos responded with a win over San Lorenzo Valley, who had beaten the Mariners five days earlier, advancing to face second-place Harbor. Dow was selected as a team captain for the match against the Pirates, high praise for a freshman playing on the varsity level.
“Nate will definitely be a defensive captain moving forward, and he is already a leader for this team,” Zuniga added. “He does a great job establishing control and finishing everything strong. The perfect adjective for him is resilient. He insists on being out there and doing his job no matter the challenge.”
For his efforts this season, we are pleased to recognize Aptos’ Nate Dow as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Freshman of the Year.
Other players considered for this award include Alisal’s Yoni Avelar and Lincoln’s Johan Granados.
NOTE: We would like to thank our media partners, coaches, parents, players and fans for contributing photos for our all-section features.
We salute all of the players that have made this a wonderful season of CCS soccer.