Vail Valley preps: Tedstrom 4A Slope Player of the Year
EDWARDS, Colorado – Battle Mountain or Eagle Valley soccer having Player of the Year Award-winner is nothing new.
The Huskies’ Andy Banner (2004), Tyler Cole (2005) and Eric Garcia (2006) won it as did the Devils’ Cesar Castillo in 2007.
They were all deserving and all offensively-oriented players. But a defender?
Battle Mountain fullback Connor Tedstrom earned Player of the Year honors from the coaches of the 4A Slope, heading up the Huskies’ all-league contingent.
“I was surprised,” Tedstrom said. “We only allowed nine goals all year during the regular season. But there are a lot of good players like (Eagle Valley’s) Marco (Escobar) and (teammate) Jack (Sunderland), who probably had a more noticeable effect on the game. It’s a big honor.”
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Tedstrom, goalie Clint Hervert and midfielder David Gonzalez received their all-league awards Monday, while striker Ubaldo Trujillo and midfielder Leopoldo Rodriguez won honorable mention.
In a year when the league’s top four teams – Steamboat Spring, Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Glenwood Springs -were separated by seemingly inches, it’s actually not a surprise a defensive player won the award.
“I think he deserved Player of the Year,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “I think in every game we played he was the best player on the field. At times, it didn’t even seem fair the way he would dominate things. Connor became a soccer player over the four years. He learned how to distribute out of the back, how to step up into the play and how to score goals.”
Very few were bigger than his golden goal in Glenwood. Scoreless going into the second overtime, the Huskies, by Tedstrom’s request, moved the fullback to striker and the senior responded with a header for the 1-0 victory.
Athletically-gifted, Tedstrom added the leadership role to his resume this fall.
“I recognized that this was my last year,” Tedstrom said. “All four years, Cope and (assistant coach) Kyle (Mercer) have been telling me to be more vocal. With the help of David and Clint, I was able to become one of the leaders on the team.”
El Guapo and Costa
On a defensively-stingy team, it is only appropriate that Hervert got an all-league spot. A three-year starter in net, there were times that El Guapo, as he is known to his teammates, saved Battle Mountain’s bacon.
One such instance was the aforementioned 1-0 win at Glenwood. While Tedstrom delivered the game-winner, the Huskies wouldn’t have sniffed extra time had it not been for Hervert’s play between the pipes.
“We’re going to miss him,” said Mercer, who’s worked with Hervert for the last four years. “I said to Cope before the season, ‘Clint’s going to be the one who either makes us or breaks us.’ This year, he made us. This year, he kept us in games.”
David Gonzalez is the third of his family to play for Battle Mountain, and the family now has every position covered. Everado was a superb defender, while Joel played both goalie and striker at various points in his career.
David, aka Costa, was a midfielder and the glue holding everything together for Battle Mountain in 2009. Gonzalez’s season came to a premature end when he tore his ACL in his left knee in the second-to-last game of the regular season.
“David was just a battler,” Cope said. “You talk about a kid who made the most out of his athletic ability, that’s him. He was also like a coach who would make suggestions. He had the credibility within our camp to make suggestions and to push other players.”
Trujillo and Rodriguez
Trujillo was a nice surprise in camp and kept on being so throughout the season, averaging a goal per game. The striker got some playing time his sophomore year and pretty much lost his junior year to injuries.
“He missed his junior year and came back for his senior year, really committing to the team,” Cope said. “I thought Ubaldo was great. He was all in as far as training. He was committed. He scored some big goals.”
Trujillo led the team in scoring with 16 goals, including both in the Huskies 2-1 win against Montrose.
Rodriguez is a junior and will be back for 2010. That’s great news for Battle Mountain as he had 11 assists for the Huskies.
“He can play anywhere in the field,” Cope said. “We played him in the back, wide and center. We played him everywhere in the midfield and he can play up front. I lot of kids will come to you and say, ‘I don’t play that position.”‘
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.