PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — He might not be the first player that sticks out when you watch the 8-1 Westview boys soccer team, outscoring opponents 55 to 11 this season.
But beyond the highlights and the statistics, midfielder Zachary Velasco, who has 3 of those 55 goals, has quietly led the way for the Wildcats, the state’s fifth-ranked team.
“I have spoken about him in regards to being somewhat of an underrated player in that he’s not necessarily a player that’s known as much as some of the other players,” said Westview boys soccer coach Jon Fresh, “but in that respect, when you’re out on the pitch with him you realize he’s somebody that you should’ve probably known.”
Velasco is one of 17 seniors on a team of 21 players. The group has played with each other for years. That chemistry, with Velasco being the glue that sticks it together, has been a major part of the teams’ success.
“We all connect really well and we don’t really even fight or anything,” Velasco said. “We all just like really play well and have a lot of chemistry to be able to like score goals and connect really well.”
Fresh said Velasco’s statistics don’t even begin to his story or how important he is to the Wildcats. He called Velasco unselfish. Velasco thinks playing midfield is the perfect outlet to showcase the unselfishness.
“I like to think that the midfield is like an outlet, so like we’re like the distribution throughout the game,” said Velasco. “Like once the defenders like get back from an attack from the opponent then we’re the guys who distribute it through the forwards, like the start of the attack.”
The Wildcats are aiming for a state championship this season. And if they achieve that goal, it will be in large part to the senior-laden chemistry and the quiet leadership of Velasco.
“Just about every player that we have on this team can fill any role that’s necessary,” Fresh said. “So in that respect I really feel that the team chemistry is built on the individual players that are responding to the community, to the family.”