Santa Barbara High’s Juan Carlos Torres was one of those players that opposing soccer teams drew up game plans to contain.
Harvard Westlake lost track of Torres in a first-round CIF-SS Division playoff game this winter and the senior burned the Wolverines with a game-tying goal in the last minutes of regulation and the game winner in overtime.
“Big-time players step up in big-time moments,” said Santa Barbara High coach Todd Heil of Torres, a four-year varsity player.
He helped Santa Barbara win four Channel League championships and a CIF-SS Division 1 title during his career. He’s twice been named the league MVP and a First-Team All-CIF selection
The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table is honoring Torres for the second straight year as the High School Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the state’s stay-at-home order, Torres and the other high school and college fall and winter sports athletes of the year are being honored in virtual format. They are being presented through the Round Table’s social media platforms and on the Noozhawk.com Sports Page.
There are no awards this year for springs sports becasue the season was cut short by the pandemic.
Torres scored 16 goals and had eight assists in his senior year and finished his career with 58 goals and 23 assists.
“Juan Carlos has been making an impact in the boys’ soccer program at SBHS from the day he stepped on campus as a freshman,” said Heil. “\We’ve been fortunate in the history of our program to have quite a few exceptionally gifted soccer players, but it’s rare when you have a player that has the ability to individually take over a game.
“I’m quite confident that my memory book of JC will always include his performance this season against Harvard-Westlake in the 1st Round of CIF Playoffs.”
Torres had that instinctual ability to get open and finish his chances. As more teams focused on him, Torres adapted and fed his teammates for quality shots.
“What I will most appreciate about JC is the transformation he made as a player when the game around him changed,” Heil said. “For a good portion of our season, he wasn’t leading the team in goals because he became the facilitator. He helped those around him gain confidence and improve while he attracted the attention from our opponents defense.
“A player with a different mindset would’ve experienced a frustrating senior year, but JC met the challenge and helped us have an incredible season as a team.”