Cruz wins region defensive POY for CV boys soccer

Camp Verde senior Brandon Cruz was named Central Region defensive player of the year. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde senior Brandon Cruz was named Central Region defensive player of the year. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde High boys soccer was well represented on the All-Central and All-Conference teams.

Seniors Brandon Cruz (defender) and Joseph Jones (midfielder) were first team All-Region. Freshman Gary Ortega (forward) and sophomore

Ethan Church (midfielder) were second team All-Central.

Additionally Cruz was Region Defensive Player of the Year.

“It really reflected the kids and the effort that they put in,” CV head coach David Miller said. “It’s great to have Brandon Cruz recognized as the All-Region defender, he did a great job and matured in that position playing sweeper in the back. He did a great job.”

Cruz emerged as a leader and resisted the urge to be more offensive.

“Well I think this was probably his best year at Camp Verde High School,” Miller said. “I think he showed a lot of leadership as the season went along. Even though he wasn’t selected as a captain this year he showed leadership on the field, the kids looked to him as a leader and I thought he just did a real good job. There was opportunities for him to become more a scoring threat but he realized that his best contribution to the team was in a defensive position and he just took that on.”

Junior Benjamin Perez, junior Beto Ruiz and freshman Joan Ruiz Alamos were honorable mention.

Miller thought he coaches did well in picking the Central honorees.

Good job

“It’s always nice to see how the other coaches view your players,” Miller said. “We had three guys that were on honorable mention and they were all three defenders I thought that was awesome and I think if you look at the teams in general, the defense was recognized for their effort. Whether it as defensive midfielder or the guys who played defense and I think that was reflected in how we played throughout the season, we played really strong defensively this year.”

Cruz was also first team All-State and Jones was second team.

“I thought it was excellent, again just their overall season reflected in how they were received by the other coaches,” Miller said. “Brandon’s defensive effort was good Joseph had a tremendous career at Camp Verde High School. He played any place we put him. On the All-Region team he was recognized for being a midfielder, he did a great job there this year but even on the All-State team; to be selected as a midfielder, there were a lot of high profile players who played out of the midfield, in our region alone but totally in the state there were two or three guys that were just outstanding but to be recognized in that same group, even as a second team player really reflects about the quality of player that Joseph is and how hard and how much effort he puts into the game.”

Many of the Cowboys honored were younger, a good sign for the future.

“Other than Joseph and Brandon, everybody that’s recognized were mainly underclassmen, freshmen and sophomores,” Miller said. “Benjamin Perez, he’s a junior, but the other guys were really young and I think that bodes well for the team this year and as we move forward. On the All-Region team we have a couple of big scorers that did really well and they’re really young and they’re going to mature physically. I think that we’ve got more a threat as we move forward, so I’m really excited for next year. We’re going to be just really, really young again but I think the guys will step up. We’ll play well, we’ll be a contending team again next year.”

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