The College of the Canyons’ men’s soccer team had a historic season, winning the Western State Conference, South Division title for the first time in program history. And the rewards keep on coming.
Playing a key role in the team’s 2018 title run, the trio of Cesar Dominguez, Jorge Rojas and Jose Luis Ruiz are moving onto the next level to play for NAIA school Warner Pacific University in Portland, Oregon.
“Obviously all three of those guys have been key to our success,” said Canyons men’s soccer coach Philip Marcellin. “Jose didn’t have a great statistical year, but his presence was huge. To see what those guys have overcome in that last couple of years and see them move on and continue to get their degrees it’s exciting. They are going to be good men.”
Forwards Dominguez and Rojas committed on Jan. 16th. Ruiz, a midfielder, is still hashing out specifics, but is with currently in Portland with teammates and intends to sign on later on this year in the fall.
“I’m happy to be out here right now,” Ruiz said. I’m pretty disappointed if I wasn’t able to sign with my teammates, but right now I’m just being patient and taking it day by day. When the time comes to sign, I’ll be ready.”
Earning WSC, South Division Player of the Year honors, Dominguez, a Valencia grad, finished his sophomore season ranked seventh in the conference with seven goals in 10 conference games. He also led the team with 24 total points on 10 goals and four assists in 19 appearances for the Cougars.
“It’s a blessing, to be honest,” Dominguez said. “I think given the chance to play at the next level is pretty cool. I’ve put in a lot of work to get to where I’m at right now and this whole process is a big blessing for me and for my family.
“If I didn’t have the most amazing family that worked hard and sacrificed for me, I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Rojas played one season for the Cougars, ranking second on the team with nine goals and four assists in 16 appearances to finish second behind Dominguez with 22 total points.
Registering at least one point in all but five appearances on the year, Rojas had two games in which he scored a goal and assisted on another. As a result, he earned an All-WSC First Team selection and is cannot wait to play at the next level with his teammates.
“It’s great to have somebody from back home with me. It’s not just anyone that came out here with me, it’s Cesar and Jose. They both have proved that they are out here for a reason, with the type of talent that they have.”
While Ruiz didn’t have the statistical year that his teammates had, his presence was felt every time he was on the field and was named to the All-WSC Second Team.
“I think they all made each other better because you couldn’t focus on any one of them. So it gave us a lot of versatility to have Jorge and Jose come into the program. It allowed Cesar to be more than he could because he has that type of players around him,” Marcellin said. “Warner is getting a couple of good players because of the chemistry that they have and the skill that they encompass.”
Warner Pacific is coming off a 7-10-1 overall record finishing 10th in the Cascade Collegiate Conference with third-year head coach Troy Heady at the reins in 2019.
The Knights kick off the season against Walla Walla University at College Place, Wash. on Friday, Sept. 20.
“It’s a new experience for me,” Rojas said. “I’ve never even been to Portland before and I’m excited to see what this team has.”