San Diego Player of the Week : To Martin, Playing Soccer Is Always First on His List

A collection of worn soccer shoes is arranged neatly in one corner. Banners and ribbons from various soccer tournaments are stretched along the walls, as are posters of international soccer stars.

A look at Lucas Martin's bedroom reveals the dominating force in the La Jolla High senior's life--soccer.

"I like scoring goals as much as I like girls," Martin said. "Everyone likes a goal scorer. It's the best feeling in the world, playing with 11 guys working their butts off to get a ball into a little rectangle at the end of the field."

During Saturday's San Diego Section 2-A championship, Martin, The Times Player of the Week, scored three times to lead the Vikings over Ramona, 5-2.

Saturday's performance was Martin's way of paying back the Bulldogs. When Martin was a sophomore, La Jolla lost to Ramona in the a sudden-death quarterfinal match.

Martin suffered a broken ankle in that game after being tackled by a Ramona player. The injury sidelined Martin for three months.

"I just thought I would roll up my sleeves and play good soccer to get even with them. . . . And it worked," he said. "People were depending on me and we needed the goals, that's when it's best."

The La Jolla All-American took an interest in soccer when he was 8.

Martin wants to play soccer for a team in West Germany someday. He's currently learning how to speak German.

During a recent trip to Russia with the Junior National team, Martin got a taste of international soccer.

"It blows your mind playing in front of 25,000 people," he said. "People paid money to see us play. It's exciting playing in front of some many people who had so much enthusiasm."

While in Russia, Martin and the Junior National team faced competition from West Germany, France, Belgium and Russia. Although the U.S. team did poorly in Russia, Martin feels it was a valuable learning experience.

"Some of the guys we were playing against were professionals in their countries," he said. "The whole atmosphere there made it seem professional.

"I hope that I didn't appear to anybody as feeling 'Oh, this is a drag' after I got back from Russia. I really enjoyed playing here this season."

Lucas Martin

La Jolla High School

Position: Center / forward

Class: Senior

Last Week: Scored three goals to lead La Jolla to a 5-2 win over Ramona in the 2-A San Diego Section soccer championship.

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