State champion headed north
For The Madera Tribune
Members of the Madera South Stallions NorCal State Championship boys soccer team surrounds Abraham Vasquez, who signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Simpson University and play soccer.
Winning championships is nothing new for Madera South boys soccer standout Abraham Vasquez.
He led his middle school soccer team to the league championship and then helped his travel team to the State Cup. At Madera South, all he did was lead the Stallions to the program’s first Div. IV Central Section Championship and then led the Stallions to the NorCal Regional State Championship.
“There’s something special about this growing up,” he said. “I was always a champion. We won the championship for Desmond. My travel team won the State Cup. I don’t like losing. I want to compete. If you beat me, the next time will be a different story.”
Vasquez officially singed his National Letter of Intent last month and will try to lead Simpson University to a championship.
“Going to college was always on my mind,” he said. “My dream is to play college ball. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I had to work for it.”
Ealirer this year, Vasquez received an email from the coaches and, after several conversations, was invited for a visit to the school in Redding in March, right after the state championships.
“They wanted me to visit and work out with them,” he said. “I say why not and gave it a try. I met the head coach and showed them my video. They said I was an amazing player and wanted me on their team. I worked hard like my coach told me. I tried to make my passes perfect. I went there focused with the fundamentals. They liked how I got involved so quick with the team.
“I might go up there right after school and start training with them. I talk to the coach every day. He’s a really cool coach. He keeps encouraging me. I got the vibe and how everybody are close together. I really enjoyed my visit.”
Vasquez didn’t make a commitment right then because he had other schools to check with.
“I had a lot of schools looking at me, but they were too far.” He said. “There are still a lot of schools emailing me. I had over 100 colleges and they were interested. I told the colleges that my stats say it all. They kind of knew I was a good player.”
In addition to winning the championships, Vasquez was a first team All-County/Metro Athletic Conference selection and was The Madera Tribune’s Offensive Player of the Year.
“Everyday, I wake up I look at the videos and still can’t believe it,” Vasquez said. “It’s really a dream. I’m so thankful we had an amazing team by my side. The difference between this team and the others is we played as a family. We were working hard, but having fun at the same time. We played for each other 100 percent. I knew what each player did.”
Vasquez earned, basically, a full-ride scholarship. He will graduate MSHS with a 3.2 grade point average and will major in business.
“I got a really good offer from the coach,” he said. “I don’t have to pay anything. School was first. I knew if I didn’t have the grades, I knew I couldn’t play in college. I was told I had the talent, but I had to have the grades.”
Vasquez said his focus on his future changed midway through his time at Madera South.
“Growing up was hard,” he said. “It’s all about focusing and all about not giving up. I learned it’s all on you. If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. That’s what I did this year. I cut the bad influences out. I hung around people that would make me better. I focused on soccer and school. I focused on what really matter. I helped my cousin (David Vasquez) and he looked up to me. He helped me out, too. We came through a lot of games.”
Now, Vasquez walks around with a head held a little higher. He has become a role model to younger players and to the kids in Madera.
“The fact that I did something really difficult for me and my family is great,” he said. “I talked to a lot of little kids. They say they want to be the next state champion. Now, everybody wants to go to Madera South. My baby sister and her elementary school friends want to go to Madera South because they want to be Valley and State champions. It makes me feel amazing.”
Vasquez plans to open his own restaurant when he is done at Simpson University and even operates his own small-business now.
“I started selling shoes on the side and I hope to open my own shoe store,” he said. “I have my own Instagram page. I work every day and Sunday. I just got promoted to a supervisor. That’s something my dad taught me was being a hard worker. He told me to work hard. I try to do that on and off the field. My dad pushes me to my limit and is there for me. He never gave up on me.”
Although he has had parental support throughout high school, both his parents encouraged him to go with the opportunity at Simpson.
“My parents told me it was a right move to make,” Vasquez said. “It gets me out of town. They enjoyed the college and liked it. It was a different vibe than Madera in Redding.”
However, Vasquez is still in dream land and doesn’t want to wake up from it, afraid the championships won’t be there anymore.
“It was just a dream come true,” he said. “It was a dream that I didn’t want to wake up from. Madera needed this state title. We are Madera. We did this for Madera. We all knew this state title was going to happen. We are a small city with a lot of talent.”