By John Philip Wyllie
Hilltop High School’s David Nuñez proved to be just about unstoppable as he went over, around and through the Marian High School defense last Friday to record a hat trick in what turned into a 5-1 blowout. The win provided the Lancers (11-2-5) (5-0-1) with at least a share of the South Bay Soccer League title and put them in the driver’s seat to take sole possession of the banner. For Nuñez, the Lancers leading scorer (12 goals), it was just the latest demonstration of his crafty ball skills and lethal finishing ability. With the CIF section playoffs now on the horizon, his coaches are hoping Nuñez will save the best for last.
“He is one of those gifted kids that knows how to put the ball in the back of the net in almost any situtation,” said Hilltop’s assistant coach, C.J. Burroughs. “His work rate has really picked up. He is becoming a team player, starting to take charge and he’s doing the things we want him to do.”
Nuñez has the touch, dribbling ability and vision of an attacking midfielder combined with a striker’s nose for the ball. It is easy to see why his coach, John Salts, calls him, “one of the most talented players I have ever seen at the high school level. He’s a magician with the ball. We are starting see a lot of colleges looking his way. He is definitely (going to be) a top-level collegiate player.”
“I was five when my parents started me in AYSO,” Nuñez explained. “I played a couple of years there and then went on to CYSA with the Bonita Rebels. After two years there I joined the (La Jolla) Nomads and this is my seventh year with them.”
Nuñez, a senior, has been a four-year starter at Hilltop, but he has taken his game to new heights recently.
“I was a little immature and stuck up (prior to this year), but now I have grown into a good player and I help the team. I’m not the type of forward that can beat people with his speed. I like to hold the ball and distribute it to the other players. I can also dribble past people and that is one of my strengths.”
“His concentration on the game has improved dramatically this year and I think that is the maturity factor. He has always been a gifted player, but the maturity has not been there. This year it has come together as a whole. He’s an outstanding player,” said Salts.
When he isn’t playing, Nuñez can be found most weekends in front of the TV watching the Mexican League matches. His favorite team is America and you’ll find a lot his sports idols on that team.
“After I see something on TV I’ll go out and practice it,” Nuñez said. “That’s where I get my moves. I think that is (part of the reason) why I am improving.”
“We have won the (South Bay League) banner twice since I’ve been here and finished in second place last year. ... Hopefully this year we will win a CIF title. It would be a great way to go out.”