Most Viewed Stories
Century wins Summer League title
SANTA ANA – It happened a few months ago, the moment when Century boys soccer coach Bruce Silverman told his star player to take a break from working out with the team.
Amirgy Pineda, Silverman said, needed some time off to “get his priorities straight,” change his attitude and work on improving his grades.
“For these kids this (soccer) is a ticket out. You have a player like this … I don’t want him working at McDonald’s,” Silverman said. “Yeah, you are a great player, and maybe you will play pro, but what if you get hurt? What are you going to do then?”
Pineda, Silverman said, still showed up at sixth period soccer to see how his teammates were getting along with out him. And they managed to hold their own and still play up to the high level that has made Century a regular in the CIF playoffs.
“Yeah, he is great, but he saw we were still really good without him,” Silverman said, “his attitude changed dramatically.”
Now, instead of holding onto the ball a few touches too long trying to score a highlight-reel goal, he’s passing the ball more and becoming a reliable playmaker. Wednesday’s Century Summer League championship match was a good example of that.
The sophomore-to-be midfielder finished with two assists as the Centurions cruised to a 3-0 victory against Esperanza. Pineda also scored goal, blasting a low line drive inside the near far post in the 17th minute to give Century a 2-0 lead.
“It is always good to win, but more important, the kids see what they are capable of. They see the big picture,” Silverman said. “I kept driving home that you are a lot more fun to coach than last year’s team, and you can be better.”
That’s saying a lot, considering the Centurions were the No. 1 team in the county for most of the season, after beating top-ranked Servite in the semifinals of the North Orange County Tournament.
“But they have to stay focused and keep playing like this,” Silverman said.
This was the third meeting between the Century and Esperanza during summer league, and in the two previous matches, the Centurions scored one goal, winning once and playing to a scoreless tie in the other.
On Wednesday, Century, took a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when Pineda lofted a corner kick to the far post where Jesus Rojas leaped high and headed it in. And Pineda’s goal from 25 yards out helped the Centurions take a two-goal lead into halftime.
“Ami has really gotten his act together,” Silverman said. “It is great to play at the level that he does for the teams that he does (both club and national), but there is nothing like playing for your high school team, and he thrives off that. He is much more of a team player now.”
And 10 minutes into the second half, Pineda set up the third and final goal for Century, stealing the ball Esperanza’s defensive third and then passing the ball to Danny Sanchez as Sanchez sprinted toward the left corner. Sanchez turned and dribbled into the area and watched his shot make it inside the far post and into the upper right corner of the goal.