Winning its first conference title in program history, the College of the Canyons men’s soccer team had 12 players earn postseason awards, including the Western State Conference Player of the Year and the Coach of the Year.
For the second year in a row, a Cougars player was named the WSC South Division POY as Valencia graduate and Canyons sophomore forward Cesar Dominguez brought home the award after leading the team in scoring with 10 goals, ranking seventh in the WSC.
On the year, Dominguez totaled 24 points (10 goals and four assists) in 19 games and finished his Cougars career with 19 total goals in 39 games played, according to Canyons’ official website of Cougar Athletics.
“Last year, I told myself that I was going to get Player of the Year and to be one of the best players in playoffs,” Dominguez said. “So I had a goal and mindset, but it wasn’t only me, it was my teammates. They motivated me when I was tired and picked me up when I needed it.
“I guess I would say that this year’s team had a strong bond and I think that contributed to my success to them being out on the field with me. They made me happy.”
Sophomore forwards Jorge Rojas and Andres Lozano joined Dominguez on the All-WSC First Team list.
Rojas was an integral part of the Cougars’ season, scoring nine goals and logging four assists in his final year at Canyons. Rojas recorded a point in all but five games this season.
“I had been struggling my season before at Mission College so I took it into myself to work harder and I knew I could put in a good performance during the season,” Rojas said. “When the season started, I started scoring and I never stopped with that mindset.”
Lozano, who rejoined the team after a four-year hiatus, netted eight goals on the season, serving as a spark plug for the team in crucial moments throughout the year.
Midfielders Jamie Ledezma, Jose Chavez and Justin Marquez round out the All-WSC First Team selections for the Cougars.
“The team felt strong from the beginning bringing back the players that we had from last year,” Rojas said. “We knew we had quality players and when the season came down to it, we expected to win. We were focused and ready to win league.”
Midfielder Jose Luis Ruiz and defenders Kevin Santillan, Steven Bobadilla and Jake Erazo were named to the All-WSC Second Team.
Tyler Jovel and Matthew Garcia were given honorable mentions.
In his 16th season with the Cougars, coach Philip Marcellin won his first Coach of the Year Award with the men’s team, guiding them to the program’s first-ever conference championship. Canyons finish the season with an overall record of 10-6-3, going 7-2-1 in conference.
“The mentality that he instills in his players is clear from the get-go,” Rojas said. “To be hardworking and dedicated to the team for the few months that we are together. He brings the same intensity year after year just with different teams.”
“He is very close to all his players and I appreciate him and the whole coaching staff that helped us out this year,” Dominguez said. “It was a complete team effort and he is more proud of us getting these awards over his own personal award and I think that speaks about his character and how much he cares about the team over personal accolades.”