Burroughs' Arzate is league MVP in boys' soccer

Coach Mike Kodama's Burroughs High boys' soccer teams have had a history of success through the years.

In just his second season back after leading the program for 22 years and stepping down after the 2008-09 season, the Indians were again a formidable squad. Burroughs was able to win the Pacific League championship, its first since 2009. The league crown was the eighth for Kodama — five in the Foothill League and three in the Pacific League.

Because of its latest success, the Indians had eight players named to the all-league team, including senior midfielder Brian Arzate, who was honored with the Pacific League Player of the Year award. Not surprisingly, Kodama was named the league coach of the year.

Burbank had three players earn all-league accolades, two were named to the second team and one was an honorable mention pick.

Making the first team for Burroughs was senior midfielder Manny Celio, senior forward Jorman Herrera, junior forward Michael Conrad and junior forward Brandon Gerlach. Making the second team were Indians Xavi Izqueta, a junior midfielder, and Victor Salazar, a sophomore midfielder/defender, along with Burbank senior midfielder Christian Garcia and senior defender Josue Gonzalez.

Burroughs senior goalkeeper Elliot Whitecotton and Burbank senior forward Dennis Palacio were honorable-mention selections.

"It's been quite a while since we had that many players on the all-league team," Kodama said. "And I don't think we've had an MVP since probably around 2000. But it was a team effort and all the guys put in a great deal of hard work to help us be successful.

"Some of the guys on the all-league teams don't have a lot of stats, but they were valuable to us and they helped lead us."

One of those players is Arzate, who had two goals and two assists.

"But he was our field general out there," Kodama said. "He was our most consistent player, game in and game out. You just don't find players like him very often. He covers a lot of ground and he has a huge engine. He not only won the ball a lot but he works so hard off the ball as well. He decides when he wants the guys to move and if he wants them to go faster."

Celio led the Indians with a team-high 10 goals, to go along with nine assists. Gerlach was second on the team with nine goals, but paced Burroughs with 16 assists. Izqueta added nine goals and six assists, Herrera had six goals and five assists and Conrad had one goal and four assists.

"The thing of it for us was that we could have any one of those guys step up for us on any given day," Kodama said.

The Indians (15-7-3) surged to their first league championship in four years and ended the campaign with a 10-3-1 record. Burroughs won its opening match of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs, defeating Anaheim, 4-3, at home before downing host Redlands East Valley, 2-1, in the second round. Unfortunately for the Indians, their season ended in the quarterfinals with a 4-3 road loss in overtime to third-seeded Palmdale.

Garcia was a facilitator for Burbank, as he ended the season with one goal and 11 assists. Gonzalez didn't score a goal for the Bulldogs, but the defender was "our anchor for the past two years on defense," according to Coach Loi Phan. Palacio tallied 10 goals and three assists for the Bulldogs.

Burbank failed to make the playoffs after posting a 5-6-3 record in league.

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