Joe-Max Moore’s senior season with the Mission Viejo High School soccer team reads like a Hollywood movie script, or maybe even a fairy tale.
Moore, one of the smallest players on his team at 5-feet-7, 130 pounds, led the South Coast League in scoring with 25 goals and 10 assists and was named the league’s player of the year.
His team held the No. 1 ranking in the boys’ Southern Section 3-A all season and advanced to the 3-A final. There, Moore scored the winning goal on a penalty kick with three minutes left in the second and final overtime to give the Diablos a 2-1 victory over Santa Barbara.
“Everything happened the right way,” said Moore, 18, The Times’ player of the year. “It couldn’t have been any better. Everything fell in the right place, perfect.”
The individual and team awards were all part of Moore’s plans. While working out with weights over the summer, he set his sights on winning the 3-A title and league player of the year honors.
Now he has his sights set on a professional career in the United States or Europe. But first, he’ll go to college. Moore said he has made an oral commitment to attend UCLA.
Coaches there may hold him out of competition his freshman season to let him grow a little, Moore said. He has already grown a couple of inches his senior year and expects to grow taller than his 5-foot-10 father, Karl, who also matured late.
Though small in stature, Moore’s exceptional skills distinguish him as a player.
His knowledge of the game, ball skills and, most of all, his high level of work, are the reasons for his success, Diablo Coach Cal Foster said.
“A lot of professional coaches and players talk about (giving) that 110%,” Foster said. “He is one of those players giving you that plus, giving everything to make himself a better player and his team a better team. He’s got a great desire and ability to play the game.
“I think that he is one of those rare individuals who has a great shot at being on a national team and maybe making an Olympic team.”
Moore, in the meantime will stay close to the beaches of Southern California for his college career so he can continue to surf in his spare time.
He also enjoys riding dirt bikes. He got involved in motocross growing up on his parents’ 80-acre spread in Oklahoma and now owns a Honda dirt bike that he takes to Riverside to kick up some dirt when he’s not kicking a soccer ball.
ALL-COUNTY BOYS’ SOCCER TEAM FIRST TEAM
NAME: MIKE AMMAN WT: Forward YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Mater Dei Amman came out of the goal halfway through Angelus League play to spark the Monarch offense and lead Mater Dei to the Angelus League title with five goals. He was a first-team All-Southern Section 4-A selection.
NAME: DIEGO ABBES WT: Forward YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Kennedy A starter since he moved from Argentina two years ago, Abbes has played sweeper, midfield, forward and goalie. He led unranked Kennedy to the 2-A quarterfinals with 19 goals and 12 assists.
NAME: J.R. OCHS WT: Forward YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Brea-Olinda Ochs, the player of the year in the Orange League, had 12 goals and 14 assists to lead Brea to its first undefeated, untied season and its fifth league title in six years.
NAME: DANIEL BARBER WT: Midfielder YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Pacifica Barber, the most valuable player in the Garden Grove League, led Pacifica to the league title and to the second round of the 2-A playoffs with 17 goals, 11 assists.
NAME: EDDIE BUENROSTRO WT: Midfielder YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Santa Ana Buenrostro, Century League MVP, helped the Saints win the league title and reach the 3-A quarterfinals. A first-team All-Southern Section 3-A selection, he had 10 goals, 17 assists.
NAME: JOE-MAX MOORE WT: Midfielder YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Mission Viejo Moore was offensive player of the year in the Southern Section 3-A and the player of year in the South Coast League. Scored winning goal in 3-A championship game. He had 25 goals and 10 assists.
NAME: ANDY WORTRICH WT: Midfielder YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Mission Viejo Wortrich is only about 5-feet-4 but his stats rate with the best in the county. A first-team All-Southern Section 3-A selection, he had 14 goals and 15 assists.
NAME: TODD PATRICK WT: Defender YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Mission Viejo Patrick led defense on a team that had 14 shutouts in 29 games. He was selected the 3-A defensive player of the year. He also was first-team All-South Coast League.
NAME: DEAN MILLER WT: Defender YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Troy Miller’s defense helped Troy win the Freeway League championship and advance to quarterfinals of the Southern Section 1-A playoffs before losing to top-seeded Agoura.
NAME: CARLOS ZAVALA WT: Defender YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Saddleback Zavala, an All-Sea View League selection, anchored the defense for a Saddleback team that had five shutouts and finished first in league play. He had three goals and three assists.
NAME: BILL KLEIN WT: Goalie YEAR: Senior SCHOOL: Marina Klein was the All-Southern Section 4-A first-team goalie and the Sunset League defensive player of the year for helping Marina to a share of the league title. He had 11 shutouts and allowed 27 goals in 26 games.
PAT CALLAGHAN Forward Senior Corona del Mar ERWIN GARCIA Forward Senior Servite GUS PLASENCIA Forward Senior Santa Ana MARC ROOSEN Forward Senior Ocean View CHRIS STEMPSON Forward Senior Valencia JOHN SZCZUKA Forward Soph. Woodbridge DARREN MARTINEZ Midfielder Senior Esperanza KEVIN SMITH Midfielder Senior Edison ABEL VENTURA Defender Senior Santa Ana DOUG WEST Defender Senior Mater Dei JERRY VARGAS Goalie Soph. Kennedy