For The Madera Tribune
Madera South graduate and Stallions soccer star Christian Garcia capped off his final high school season with two titles — a Valley Championship and a NorCal State Championship.
But the former Madera South product is looking for more. Garcia is looking for a chance to not only become the best player he can be on the pitch, but also grow his future career in kinesiology.
The two-time All-Madera Tribune Most Valuable Player will be attending Azusa Pacific in August to reach those goals.
“I’ll be attending APU, where I’ll be playing soccer and majoring in kinesiology. I want to continue playing, but also study to be a physical therapist,” Garcia said. “I’m just really excited to get this opportunity.”
After visiting the school twice, Garcia was confident that he felt APU was going to be the right fit for him, both on the pitch and in the classroom.
“It’s just a great place and I really like the community. Just the general area and being in Los Angeles,” Garcia said.
Garcia’s ambition on the pitch is known, but in the classroom, he’s just as determined to succeed. His grades were a big reason he was accepted into APU.
“As his coach, I was excited to see his grades stay up to get him to go to Azusa,” said Enrique Garcia, Madera South boys soccer coach. “As his older brother I am so proud of his success in the classroom. We have always wanted him to go to college with good academics so for him to be able to go to play and study what he wants is amazing.”
After a stellar season, with more than 45 goals and assists combined, Garcia will have to keep grinding on the pitch when he arrives in Los Angeles later this summer.
The APU mens soccer program didn’t have the funds for a scholarship, but Garcia was told that depending on his development and play during his first two years, he could find himself on a scholarship his final two seasons.
Garcia is more than ready for the challenge.
“I talked to the coach and he said I had a spot on the team. For possibly my junior and senior year, there could potentially be a scholarship there for me,” Garcia said. “I feel a little bit of pressure, but in all honesty I’m just really excited. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life, I’ve wanted to play college ball and I’ve worked towards that goal. I think once I get there and start, I will be ready for everything.”
Although APU was the eventual winner, Garcia had looked at many options that were on the table. Staying home and playing for Fresno City was an option for the well-rounded midfielder, but the allure for playing for a bigger club in APU, along with the area was just what Garcia wanted.
“I had a few other options; I looked at UC Davis, Whitworth in Washington and I was also thinking locally, but in all honestly when I visited APU and had a talk with the coach, I knew it was going to fit well.”
If everything works out well for Garcia, the possibilities of becoming a professional player will always have his attention, especially with two big teams in the area; LA Galaxy and LAFC.
“I feel like maybe after my freshman and maybe my sophomore year I’ll go to a tryout and see how that works out and just hope for the best after that,” Garcia said.
Garcia thinks he can make a difference at the next level and his former head coach and brother believes Christian’s time as a Madera South Stallion gave his little brother a good foundation when he makes it to APU.
“We are extremely proud of him being the first MSHS player to go to a Div. II program to play. I believe that his success and preparation in club and with us at South will make him a great asset for Azusa Pacific,” Enrique said.