Even during a bad season some players are able to develop their skills on the field.
The Palomar men’s soccer team struggled through the season due to a lack of strong offensive players, and a lack of discipline, Coach Hernandez said.
Brian Paleo, 20 is the team’s strongest offensive player, and only returning player. He has done his best to carry the team, but admits not coming to practice as much as he should.
“The season didn’t go that well. We depended on him (Paleo) to carry us through the games. We didn’t get off on the right foot,” Teammate Mario Ferreira said.
As a biology major, Paleo said he wishes to pursue a cardiology degree. Born in the United States, and raised in Mexico until age 9, Paleo is bilingual, and is also in his third semester of French. He hopes to transfer to a school in Los Angeles upon finishing his time at Palomar.
This fall semester will be Paleo’s last semester playing soccer for Palomar. He grew up watching his dad play soccer in Mexico, and began playing club soccer in the United States while he was in high school.
“We only have one win, but as an individual I have really good stats. I have 12 goals and seven assists,” he said.
Paleo said he feels that a lack of focus within the team damaged their overall performance. Hernandez said the team suffered when Paleo missed a game.
“He (Paleo) was great at creating plays to score. He was a real offensive threat to the other team,” Hernandez said.
Paleo has been supporting himself for the last two years, so his schedule has kept him from being able to participate in every practice and game. He works as a server at Sammy’s Pizza, and referees kids games. He works for the San Diego Referee Association.
Sometimes he volunteers to be a referee but he is hoping to go to referee school at some point so that he can work college level games and get paid more. Paleo also has more understanding and sympathy for calls that referees make during his games, since he is familiar with the decisions referees have to make.
Paleo said he encourages those interested in trying out for the team to be in shape before they arrive at try-outs. Team members are expected to be able to handle a lot of endurance running.
Paleo’s strong stats haven’t gone to his head. He believes that in soccer any team could beat any other team depending on the day.
He lists the myriad of things that can go wrong during a game between tired and lazy players, bad calls by a ref, or minor mistakes that may be the difference between a goal being scored or not.
“You always have to stay focused, you always have to have discipline – you have to want it,” Paleo said.