Nine Woodburn players named to Mid-Willamette all-league teams

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Woodburn senior Jesse Martin, the 2013 Mid-Willamette Player of the Year.In a season in which the Woodburn boys soccer team was largely unchallenged by its Mid-Willamette rivals, it’s no surprise that the Bulldogs were the most decorated program when the all-conference awards were announced this month.

Woodburn, which outscored opponents 43-3 and went a perfect 7-0 in league to capture its fourth-straight Mid-Willamette Conference title, placed nine players on the all-conference team. Led by Mid-Willamette Player of the Year Jesse Martin, the Bulldogs had more players receive all-league honors than any other team in the conference.

Martin, who played both forward and midfield positions during the season, was voted as the league’s best player in 2013 for his versatile skill set that allowed him to set up teammates or score at will, depending on what the team needed from him, said Woodburn coach Stan Baker.

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Miguel Herrera (above) and Dago Diaz joined teammate Jesse Martin on the 2013 Mid-Willamette First Team. “Jesse Martin was our best one-on-one player who could also play in a variety of positions, forward or midfield,” said Baker. “He scored big goals and had big assists. He was able to take free kicks and he gave our team the confidence that we could score when we really needed it. He was a go-to player.”

Martin was joined on the First Team by junior Dago Diaz and senior Miguel Herrera.

Martin and Herrera were part of a strong senior class that will be difficult to replace, said Baker. Six different seniors were selected to the all-conference teams, and nine total played for the Bulldogs this season. Each one provided valuable contributions to the team on and off the field and will be missed in 2014, said Baker.

“The six all-conference seniors will be difficult to replace, but so will the presence of all the seniors,” said Baker. “Each senior contributed something different and unique whether explosive speed of Michael Hobson, scoring from Andrew Almanzar, the settling presence, passing ability and vision of Miguel Herrera, the tireless work rate and ball winning of Freddy Centeno in the midfield (and) the solid outside defending and attacking of Arturo.”

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Diaz, a junior, will be expected to take on a larger leadership role next year as one of the Bulldogs few experienced senior players.Almanzar and Hobson were each selected to the Mid-Willamette Second Team, while Hernandez and Centeno received Honorable Mention selections. The latter two were joined by junior Christian Andrade and sophomore Eric Diaz.

Hobson, Martin, Centeno and Herrera were all freshman members of the 2010 Woodburn team that won the 5A state championship, starting a streak of three-straight state championships that was broken when the Bulldogs were eliminated in the semifinals of the state tournament this month.

Woodburn built a record of 63 wins, four draws and just four losses in that time, the most dominating stretch of play in Bulldog soccer history. While the team will certainly miss its outgoing seniors, a new class of players is ready to take the torch next year and attempt to lead the team back to the championship.

“Dago will be our main leader next season,” said Baker. “He was one of our captains this season. He has experience playing for the Timbers Academy and the Oregon ODP program.”

Andrade and Kevin Moranchel will add senior leadership in 2014, and Baker points to younger athletes that are set to return next year to take on bigger roles. Player like Diego Ortiz, Eric Diaz, Armando Reyes, Anthony Santillan, Conner Karsseboom and goalkeeper Eddie Cabrera will all be expected to contribute more next fall to keep adding to Woodburn’s tradition of excellence.

With nine seniors graduating from the team this season, there will be plenty of competition to earn a roster spot next year. Baker expects to add to the team in 2014 from a pool of players that includes the program’s talented junior varsity and freshman squads.

“Our freshman team beat every other freshman team convincingly with numerous 10-goal or better wins,” said Baker. “Some more of them will move up to the varsity team plus a handful of JV players.”

Regardless of who makes the team next year, the Bulldogs will be pressed to match the high-level of play that the current class of outgoing seniors set as the new norm at Woodburn High School.

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