Boys Soccer: Arevalo, Garcia a playmaking combo

Jonathan Garcia, left, and Abraham Arevalo are two of the reasons why the San Benito High boys soccer team has a goal of making the section playoffs.

At certain points in a game, Abraham Arevalo can’t see his teammate, Jonathan Garcia, up the field. But the sophomore midfielder delivers a through ball, anyway, knowing his good friend will be in the vicinity of the pass and in prime scoring position.
“Even when I don’t see him, I know where he’s going to be,” Arevalo said. “I just place the ball down the middle of the field and hopefully he wins them.”
The confidence Arevalo and Garcia display is a microcosm of the improved chemistry on the San Benito High boys soccer team this season. A year ago, the Haybalers finished in a tie for last in the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division.
With the league tougher than ever this season—perennial heavyweights Watsonville and Alisal look terrific as usual—the Balers know they’ll have to be at their absolute best if they expect a top-three finish. That would clinch an automatic berth into the Central Coast Section playoffs. The players said the team has a much more positive outlook and mindset under first-year coach Johnny Regalado.
“This year the coach motivates us a lot,” Arevalo said. “We take practice seriously, but we also have a lot of fun.”
As a result, the players have become mentally tougher.
“We’re better at dealing with situations,” said Garcia, a junior striker. “We’re playing together more, talking on the field more and competing harder. We’re putting up a lot more fight against the top teams.”
Such was the case in a 2-2 tie with section Alisal on Jan. 12, a contest in which Garcia scored his first goal of the season to put San Benito ahead 2-1. The 5-foot-10 Garcia excels on making runs to the goal, is dynamic in the air and finishes shots well. In a 2-1 loss to Pajaro Valley on Jan. 25, Garcia received a pass down the right side of the penalty box and with one swift kick gave the Balers a 1-0 lead.
Garcia can score in an instant, making him a constant offensive threat that opponents have to account for. The 5-7, 128-pound Arevalo possesses solid passing skills and sees the field well, and hustles for 50-50 balls.
“I have to be a lot quicker to the ball because I can’t win them all in the air,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo and Garcia became close friends last year, and they’re hoping the team has a breakout season. Not surprisingly, both players are huge fans of pro soccer. Garcia goes to one of his cousin’s place and watches Premier League matches almost every weekend, often staying up until 4 a.m. on Sunday.
Arevalo and Garcia aren’t just watching to be entertained—they watch to improve their own skills as well.
“You learn a lot from players like (Lionel) Messi because he keeps the ball close to his feet,” Garcia said.
Said Arevalo: “You learn a lot from watching the pros, and hopefully I’ll make it big one day.”
Garcia said he once scored over 100 goals in a season for the Hollister Tremors when he was 7 or 8 years old. Garcia has always shown a scoring touch, having grown up playing with two older brothers, Adan Jr. and Daniel, and their dad, Adan Sr.
“My brothers were kind of rough on me since I was always faster than them,” Garcia said. “It was a good experience playing against older players because you have to make up for the physical advantage they have.”
Arevalo also grew up playing soccer with his dad, Jose, and an older brother, George. Arevalo used to watch Jose play in a Sunday league either at Rancho San Justo or Maze Middle School, instilling in him a love for the game at an early age.
“I want to keep playing until my feet won’t let me,” Arevalo said.

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