Surry Central’s Victor Solis has been voted the soccer player of the year for the Western Piedmont Conference.
Solis was one of six Golden Eagles on the first team along with Justo Cristóbal, José Ávalos, Adrian González, Artemio Cortes and Uriel Secundino.
Two others made honorable mention: Osber Valle and Francisco Rangel.
North Surry’s Caleb Ramey was a top-five finalist for player of the year. He was joined on the first team by Greyhounds Hector Zuvieta and Cristian Cortes.
Forbush’s Seth Davis was named coach of the year.
Five of Davis’s Falcons made the first team: Robert Cornelius, Jason McCormick, Dylan Andrade, Gilberto Herrera and Ryan Miller.
Three from West Stokes made the team: Will Moore, Mason Eggers and Ben Hale.
South Stokes had two players voted on: Will Kiser and Daniel Vazquez.
Named to the honorable mention list were Oscar Guadarrama, Osmar Gomez and Edgar Dela Sancha, Forbush; Trent Washer and Blake Gordon, West Stokes; Hunter Rothrock and John Kevin Fischer, South Stokes.
Central head coach Blake Roth said that Solis went up against some stiff competition for player of the year.
“You couldn’t give it to a better kid,” Roth said of Solis. “You can’t find anyone out there that works any harder.”
Back in May, Mount Airy hosted the Granite City Lift Off, a competition combining strength and endurance tests. Solis took first place ahead of all the football players in the grueling cross fit event. He just missed taking the pound-for-pound title in a weightlifting challenge a year earlier at Forbush.
“Genetically he’s just a beast,” said Roth. Victor squats 450 pounds and runs a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash.
“He was one part of the team you never had to worry about,” the coach said. “He was going to outsmart and overpower his opponent.”
“He uses his body extremely well,” Roth added. “He knows he’s strong, and he is able to body any attacker off the ball — legally.”
“In all my years of coaching, I’ve never had a kid who can throw it as long as he can,” he said. If the Eagles had better team height, those throw-ins to the box might have resulted in more points, he noted.
Maybe the worst thing that happened to Victor is coming through Surry Central in this particular era, the coach said. Victor could have excelled at midfield or gotten a lot of scores at forward, but this unit just needed him too badly on the back line.
Solis led the team to 12 shutouts, and two other times the Eagles had a shutout going before subbing out the starters and giving up a late goal.
Roth said Solis missed two games with an injury early in the season, and the Eagles gave up four goals in those two matches.
This season, Solis also became more of a vocal leader for the team.
“He took that captain role seriously,” the coach said.
On the first day of tryouts this summer, Victor and keeper Artemio Cortes called to tell him that they couldn’t attend practice, but that it was for a really good reason.
The next day Roth found out that the two had gone to Carolina Carports to seek sponsorship for the team. The company agreed to sponsor the team’s warmups.
North Surry head coach Rachel Escobar praised the play and leadership of Caleb Ramey throughout his career.
“I’m going to miss just watching him play. He always made an impact, and he was just a joy to watch,” she said. “Even people who didn’t know a lot about soccer could just tell that he was great at it.”
Caleb was aggressive on defense, never backing down from anyone, she said. He had a good ability to steal the ball without fouling, and he had confidence in his defense without being arrogant.
Wherever the team needed him, Caleb was ready to play. He never donned the keeper’s jersey, but Escobar used him at every other position on the field.
He could have been great out front, but Escobar said she used him more in the midfield or on defense because he could have more freedom.
When he played forward, the defense would smother him with two or even three players, she explained.
After his sophomore and junior years, Ramey’s teammates voted him team MVP.
“He is a quiet young man,” said Roth. “I gave him a hug after the last time we played, and I said, ‘I can’t be any more thankful, but more disappointed, that I don’t have to play you again.’”