After another jump on the soccer field in 2020, the Little Elm boys soccer team was honored for its success with multiple district award winners.
Santiago Castorena, one of the top goal scorers in the entire Metroplex, was named the co-MVP of District 8-5A with Lake Dallas’ Brock Pope. Of Little Elm’s 28 goals against conference foes, Castorena scored 16 of those to equate to a scoring average of 1.5 goals per game in district play.
Head coach Aaron Ziehm also said that of Little Elm’s five losses, the Lobos only lost once when Castorena did put a ball into the net.
“The players had much respect for him,” Ziehm said. “They actually voted him team captain, which at the beginning of the year I didn’t really see him as a captain role, but for what he can do on a field, they looked up to him. He’s just one of those special players that you give him the ball in certain situations, he’s not really going to let you down.”
Castorena’s brother, Damian, added to the strong family ties on the pitch this season and was recognized for his efforts.
Damian Castorena was selected as the midfielder of the year, keying the Lobos into an 11-5-4 season overall and a 5-3-3 record in District 8-5A, which was good for third place in the standings.
“Damian is probably one of the quickest players I’ve ever seen with the ball. He can move in any direction,” Ziehm said. “He can see crosses that he makes that just no other players can really see because he’s so quick on the ball. He still has bunch of potential to fill as well. He’s getting better with both feet. He’s reading the game defensively just a little bit better. Just the fact that he can change the game in an instant from a midfielder’s standpoint.”
Ziehm rounded out the all-district superlatives by garnering co-coach of the year honors with Lake Dallas’ Brandon Martin.
Typically, the coach of the year is handed out to the district champion, but 8-5A went a different route by adding Ziehm to the award with Martin for what he did accomplish - and Martin was a big reason why the duo shared the award.
“Right when we were about to vote for it, Brandon kind of said to all of the other coaches, ‘Hey, before we all vote on this, I want to just put it up there that Little Elm gets it because of the fear that they put in all of us,’” Ziehm said. “Taking the team from last year, we only got fourth to almost winning the district, this year he just felt the development of the team, the system that we were in and how hard the players worked. I was really thrown back. That’s all on Brandon. He’s a great guy. For him to say that, that says a lot about his character.”
Three Lobos garnered first team recognition in young sophomore Angel Morales, young sophomore Auden Quinonez and Cristian Ramirez.
“(Auden’s) only a sophomore,” Ziehm said. “He made varsity as a freshman last year and pretty much played in every game as a freshman. Kind of one of those players that I’m looking to for next year to really step up and be a team leader. Christian is just about as solid of a midfielder as you can find, from defensively, bi-footed, can read the game. He’s a top-level premier league player, and then Angel is just scrappiness. He just works hard and he’ll go for 80 minutes as hard as he can.”
Another trio of Little Elm players rounded out the all-district selections in the form of second team honors, including some more family ties sprinkled in. Avimael Quinonez, Auden’s brother, cracked the second team, along with Yan Marquez and Austin Utt.
“Austin Utt, just a big, strong, physical defender,” Ziehm said. “When we used him a lot was with the long ball out of the back, and also he can throw the ball in about 40 yards. That was his big thing. That was what all the coaches had him practice against because they knew we had that threat. Yavimeal, he and Auden are brothers. Yavi is a senior. He’s a captain and just can organize and distribute out of the back. And Yan was kind like a surprise for all of us that he kind of just worked hard, creative out of the center midfield.”