February 13, 2009
By John Philip Wyllie
Off to a promising 3-1 Mesa League start, the Otay Ranch High School Boys Soccer Team would love to have the kind of season that they enjoyed two years ago when they captured a coveted CIF crown. Team co-captain and center midfielder, Andre Elias, was a sophomore on that team and so he knows what it takes to win the championship trophy. This season he is learning how to be a leader.
“Andre has been on our varsity team for four years and has started since his sophomore year,” said Mustangs coach, Brian Lewis. “He is a well disciplined player and his technical level is just amazing. He has vision and strength and he is our playmaker so everything often starts with him. Opponents have trouble marking him because they can never tell if he is going to turn or lay the ball off. He is one of the strongest technical players that we have had and that is saying something because a number of our players have gone on to play in college.”
Elias began playing at the tender age of four with a local YMCA team. From there he progressed through various competitive club teams and currently competes with the prestigious La Jolla Nomads. You won’t find him screaming at his teammates. That just isn’t his style. More of a quiet leader Elias leads by example. His exploits on the field have earned him an enormous amount of respect.
“I am more calm than quiet. I hate it when games get too tense. I try to avoid fights when I can. When I ask other guys on the team to do something I make sure that I am doing it too,” Elias said.
Possessing the ability to control the ball and move it around, Elias is a terrific dribbler and passer. Two of his primary targets are the team’s leading scorer and most versatile player, Juan Villaseñor and co-captain, Giovan De La Torre. Elias’s nephew, freshman Carlo Romero, plays out on the left flank and also frequently benefits from his pinpoint passes.
“Carlo is probably going to be better than me. He is already involved in the Olympic Developmental Program and he has represented Southern California in national competitions. We get along well. He is more like a brother to me. He is always coming over to my house.”
Knowing how tough it is to win a CIF championship, Elias is not about to make any bold predictions about this team despite its strong start.
“We have done well so far in season, but I think we need to get a little more serious about it. If we can get together more as a team I think we might do something. The year we won the CIF championship we had a feeling right from the beginning. We were beating just about everybody we played. This team is good, but I don’t know if we are as good as that.”
Whether or not the Mustangs once again reach that rarified air of a CIF championship, Elias plans to continue playing in college.
“I have already been accepted at San Francisco State and I have talked to their coach. Now I just have to work out the financial part of it.”