THE TIMES 1995 WINTER ALL-COUNTY TEAMS : On Either Field, Vazquez Is Always Around the Ball : Player of the year: Fountain Valley standout uses his football instincts to excel in soccer.


Joey Vazquez admits that occasionally his mind drifts to another field, another sport, another ball.

"Sometimes I'll be running down the (soccer) field thinking I'm going out for a pass and I'll start to reach out for the ball like I'm going to catch it," he said.

Vazquez has never actually caught a soccer ball during a game, but that doesn't mean he's never used his football instincts on the soccer field.

"I get my timing and the balance from football," said Vazquez, The Times Orange County player of the year. "I like going hard when I play sports. I like banging heads."

He likes it so much that he's considering playing football next season. Vazquez played receiver and cornerback as a sophomore, but he didn't play last year so he could concentrate on soccer.

"The football coach (George Berg) keeps asking me what am I doing," he said.

And Vazquez keeps putting him off.

"I'm not sure yet," he said. "I don't want to get hurt. But it is my senior year. I think I might want to have fun."

It couldn't be any more fun than Vazquez's junior soccer season. He entered the season as a virtual unknown, who had scored only five goals as a sophomore. He ended the year as the most dominant player in Orange County.

Vazquez, who scored 19 goals and had 14 assists, was nearly unstoppable in the playoffs as he led Fountain Valley to the Southern Section Division I title game. The previous year, Fountain Valley won five games and did not qualify for the playoffs.

"He carried Fountain Valley," said Edison Coach Trent Marcus, whose team faced Vazquez twice. "I'd like to have players like him that step up to that challenge and can turn a team around like he did."

Vazquez said he had a dream season.

"How we came together as a team was great," he said. "I'd have never thought I'd have a season like this."

Said Fountain Valley Coach Kevin Smith: "He's a step above everybody I've seen."

Already Vazquez said Smith is asking for an encore performance.

"He's asking me what am I going to do next year that I didn't do this year."

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