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By Nick Ellis / Special to The Californian
BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
The ability to excel in just one facet of high school soccer, whether it's defending, scoring goals or serving as a playmaker and setting up teammates for scoring chances, is enough to make a player valuable to his team.
But even more treasured is the rare player, like Bakersfield High's Gonzalo Rolon, who performs extremely well in all aspects of the game.
- Bvarsity All-Area Girls Soccer Coach of the Year: Frontier's Max Bluemel
- Bvarsity All-Area Boys Soccer Coach of the Year: South's Brian Smith
- 2013-14 All-Area girls soccer selections
- 2013-14 All-Area boys soccer selections
- BVarsity All-Area: BCHS' high-scoring Rehkopf, Frontier defender O'Connell led teams to section championships
This past season, Rolon, the BVarsity Boys Soccer Player of the Year, scored 21 goals and had 15 assists while playing an integral part in the Drillers allowing only one goal per game.
The senior midfielder's stellar two-way play helped BHS win all 10 of its Southwest Yosemite League games by a combined score of 29-5 and finish with an overall record of 17-4-3.
"It was a great season because we all put in the effort," Rolon said. "It wasn't just one individual. We worked together as a team. That's what made it the best year of my three years at BHS."
BHS coach Archie Parks cites Rolon as a big reason for the Drillers success this year.
"A kid like Gonzalo is invaluable because not only is he a great all-around player, but he also leads by example," Parks said. "The kids looked up to him because they knew it wasn't just talk. He would show everyone how to get it done."
Depending on the game situation, Parks moved Rolon, mainly a defender prior to this season, to different positions on the field to best utilize his diverse skillset.
If the Drillers needed a goal, Rolon was used as an attacking midfielder, and if they trying to protect a late lead, Parks often moved him to the back line.
"He can play any position on the field, not including goalkeeper," Parks said. "He can adapt to anything. It's very hard to do that, and it's no problem at all for him...He's truly a player that made a huge impact everywhere he played."
Rolon enjoyed the challenge jumping around to where he was most needed.
"That's just something you just have to learn as a player, to adjust to feel of the game and wherever you are positioned," Rolon said.
According to Rolon, the highlight of his season came against early in the season against Centennial in the Liberty Tournament.
"We were down 2-1, and I scored the tying goal,"Rolon said. "It was a big thing because after that we went to (penalty kicks) and we won the tournament."
Despite possessing lethal goal-scoring capabilities, for most of Rolon's soccer career, which began seven years ago, he's rarely played up front.
He played right defensive back for the U.S. National team during his sophomore and junior year a BHS.
Rolon said that experience helped raise his game to a higher level.
"It made me see things differently on the field," he said. "... It really helped me with my vision and how to touch the ball a little quicker."
And even though he was still playing defender, it also helped improve as a goal scorer.
"On the national team, they don't teach you to just defend," Rolon said. "You have to attack from the back."
What opposing coaches were forced to deal with this past year when facing BHS and Rolon was a well-rounded player capable of winning games in a multitude of ways.
"He's really strong on the ball and his vision is incomparable to anyone in the whole area," Parks said. His passing is great, and his ability to see what goes on before even it even happens is why he scores so many goals. He can read the game so much better than anyone else."
Rolon plans on plans on continuing to soccer competitively for a long time.
"Right now I'm talking to CSUB trying to get in," Rolon said. "I want to do my four years there, get my degree, and then get drafted and turn pro."
Parks said Rolon will be missed.
"He was just a true team player and a great kid to have around," Parks said.