Garcia stars for Cibola after two years at exclusive soccer academy
Cibola High School’s varsity soccer team has had a successful season so far with a record of 7-3-2, as they try to pursue a chance to make it to the Arizona Interscholastic Association state tournament. Their success is not only due to the chemistry of the team as a whole, but to the return of senior midfielder Max Garcia.
Garcia has spent much of his life playing soccer for travel soccer teams and was able to learn from the competitiveness needed for tournaments, and apply it to Cibola to help him earn a spot on varsity his freshman year at Cibola.
Garcia’s freshman year of soccer was a time when he was still beginning to develop as a player and, playing on varsity his freshman year, forced him to learn quickly. In turn, it helped him to attend a Barca Soccer Academy in Phoenix, along with a couple of his teammates. He spent two years at the Barca Academy, a soccer development program for elite athletes, where he lived in Phoenix and was unable to attend Cibola, but was able to develop skills to help out Cibola’s team today.
“I gained a lot of experience on and off the field and learned that it was more than just a soccer team,” Garcia said.
His advancement in play and ability to communicate better with his team allowed his skills to transfer to Cibola and make a positive impact on the team this season.
Peter Rodriguez, one of Garcia’s teammates who has played with him for several years, says after previously playing midfielder, he feels more comfortable with strong forward because there was never really a main guy to pressure and attack. Rodriquez is certain that Garcia can get the job done and is a dependable teammate.
Another one of Garcia’s current teammates, Gabriel Padilla, who is a starting defender for Cibola, is greatly appreciative of Garcia’s presence. “During sophomore and junior year, the team struggled with attack and had lost our main attacker going into senior year,” Padilla said. “Max helped increase striking ability and he’s played with us before so it helped the chemistry.”
Garcia’s teammates agree that there has been a change in the team that is for the better. With Garcia’s presence, the team has grown more confident and chemistry has certainly increased. Garcia leads the team with 9 goals in 12 games and is hoping to continue his striking ability in the team’s final three games of the regular season, which are all at home against Mountain Pointe, a tough San Luis team, and rival Kofa to finish off the regular season. Cibola is 3-0-1 against all Yuma teams and are hoping to capitalize on their remaining games. The Raiders have a chance to have a higher win percentage with Garcia, compared to last year’s team that finished 12-5-1 and lost a play-in game to Tolleson. Garcia and his teammates have confidence they will achieve that.