By Ray Hamill — The H-DNL released its all-league soccer teams this week, with two players included from each team.
Because of a shortened campaign due to the pandemic, no champions were crowed this year and no MVPs were named.
If there had been a league championship awarded, the Fortuna Huskies would have been champions after a season that saw them go undefeated through nine games.
In fairness to the Huskies, they deserved more than two all-league selections, and the two that were named — Sergio Marquez and Antonio Garcinuno — are well deserving of the honor and could have been MVP candidates.
Garcinuno, a junior, was instrumental in the center of the field for much of the season before moving up front late in the campaign, where he was just as effective.
Marquez, meanwhile, is a senior who was arguably the most dangerous striker in the league.
“They’re definitely creative and driven and were ready to go at all times,” Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes said of the duo. “A lot of our stuff went through them. They kind of put us on their back.”
The Eureka Loggers, meanwhile, finished 6-4 and had seniors Jesus Parra and Ian Bennett named to the all-league team.
Parra was one of the most consistent players in the H-DNL this year, playing a pivotal role in center midfield and in the heart of defense, while Bennett was the team’s most dangerous threat up front all season.
“They both had exceptional seasons and were great leaders on and off the field,” Eureka head coach Eddie Garcia said. “They definitely earned it.”
For McKinleyville, which was 5-5, Lalo Benavides-Garb and Narayan Weibel were both named all-league, with both players earning rave reviews from opposing coaches throughout the shortened season.
Check out video footage of a spectacular Jesus Parra goal against McKinleyville this past season.
Del Norte’s Jose Regalado and Adrian Arias each also was included on the prestigious team.
“Jose is the definitive soccer player with great techniques and a good understanding of tactics,” Del Norte head coach David Sanyaolu said. “His goals and assists helped our team a great deal this season. It’s been a pleasure having him on my team.”
Arias was a four-year varsity standout for the Warriors, who finished up 3-4.
“His improvement over the years is vast and highly commendable,” the head coach said of Arias, whose playful personality had a positive impact on the team. “He became a good team leader and a vital piece of our midfield and attack.”
For Arcata (3-6), senior defender Dillon Earle-Rouse and sophomore goalkeeper Sean Shermer were named all-league.
Shermer has been outstanding between the posts since breaking into the starting lineup as a freshman in 2019, earning rave reviews from opposing coaches after every game.
“He was a huge leader for us in every game and played every minute with focus,” Arcata head coach John Davidson said of Shermer.
Earle-Rouse, meanwhile, was the most consistent player on a young Tigers team, directing traffic from the back line.
“The best captain I have ever seen,” Davidson said. “Reliable, passionate, infectious. He led our team from the moment he showed up to training.”
And rounding out the prestigious list are South Fork’s Ethan Kulchin and Cameron Messenger.
A young Cubs team may have been winless this spring, but it certainly wasn’t without some bright spots.
The ever-consistent Messenger played a huge role for the team in the heart of midfield, while Kulchin would have been a force on any team and was a player opposing coaches feared.
“Cameron was our guy in midfield, and I never took him out of a game,” South Fork head coah Torey Haus said, adding that “Ethan is a very prolific scorer,” and a “great tackler and ball handler.”
The H-DNL girls all-league team was also released this week.
More on that team on HumboldtSports.com on Friday.
Where are all the honorable mentions?
There were just four honorable mentions listed for the boys, compared to 25 for the girls.
Apparently there was some miscommunication between the league and coaches, most of whom said they did not realize there were any honorable mentions being included this season.
Humboldt Sports has reached out to all of the coaches to see if they want to list their honorable mentions, which will be included in a follow-up story in a few days.