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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
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BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
Julian Zamora's importance to the success of the Golden Valley boys soccer team can be demonstrated in a variety of ways.
But one specific set of stats best tells the story of his impact on the Bulldogs. Golden Valley was 19-0 this season in games in which Zamora scored. Meanwhile, it was just 5-4-1 when the senior midfielder didn't find the back of the net.
Zamora's ability to score on a consistent basis was one of the biggest reasons the always-powerful Bulldogs won their first Central Section championship since 2009.
Zamora, The Californian's Boys Soccer Player of the Year, ravaged opposing defenses this past season, racking up 72 points on 25 goals and 22 assists.
The four-year varsity starter recorded at least one point in 24 of the Bulldogs' 29 games.
"He's an amazing offensive player," Golden Valley coach Dominic Othart said. " ... He's just so creative on the ball. He sees the field so well and sees options. The technical side of him, I haven't seen a better player come through this town in years."
Amazingly, Zamora posted his gaudy goal numbers despite taking only 35 shots. Most of the time Zamora used his superb ball-handling skills to work his way in deep into opponents' territory for short-range attempts.
"That's the thing about Julian," Othart said. "He won't take a lot of shots, especially from out wide. But he's a great finisher. ... You get him the ball inside the box and pretty much 99 percent of the time, it's going to end up in a goal. It was a great year for him stat-wise."
Zamora, a first-team All-Area selection after his sophomore and junior seasons, isn't just a one-trick pony. His stellar passing ability set up Golden Valley's other players for numerous scoring chances throughout the year.
The high-scoring Bulldogs averaged nearly 2.5 goals per game.
"I'm more of a team player," Zamora said. "I like to get my team involved more, set my teammates up. ... I don't know how I got so many goals, but I did."
The shy, soft-spoken Zamora has been honing his soccer skills since he was a small child. He's played club soccer nearly his entire life and currently is a member of the Central Valley Aztecs U19 team.
Zamora doesn't hide the fact that soccer is his greatest passion.
"It's what I live for," Zamora said. "I like competitive games so I always enjoy playing soccer."
Zamora's love of the sport is exemplified in the all the effort he puts in to keep improving.
"The dedication of that kid is amazing," Othart said. "He'll do anything for the game of soccer. He just wants to better himself and better the sport. He puts in the hard work."
A team captain, Zamora preferred to let his actions speak for him more than his words.
And what he did on the field almost always spoke volumes.
In Zamora's career, Golden Valley won 78.6 percent (90-15-10) of its games, highlighted by a 2-0 Central Section Division II title game victory over Porterville-Monache this season.
"We had been waiting this whole season, to win the Valley championship, and we did," Zamora said. "It was nice going out my senior year like that ... I was real happy. We were all real happy. It felt really good. I haven't felt like that in a while."
Zamora plans to continue playing soccer in college. He still doesn't have definitive plans for where he'll play this upcoming season, but hopes to eventually end up at Cal State Bakersfield.
"It was nice at Golden Valley, but I'm ready to move on," Zamora said.