by John Philip Wyllie
The San Diego Sockers padded their WISL lead by walloping the hapless Sacramento Knights by a 9-1 margin Saturday night in the first match of last weekend's two game homestand. Local product David Beltran, a former CIF Player of the Year for Ramona High turned SDSU standout tallied the first and last goals of the evening and drew the praise of Sockers head coach Brian Quinn.
"I was thrilled for him tonight," Quinn said after Beltran scored the first goal of the night with a left-footed beauty taken from a severe angle. He added the final coup de gras just 46 seconds before the final whistle.
"He's been a forward all of his life, but we are trying to turn him into a defender," Quinn said. "When you have been a forward, you never lose that attribute of being a goal scorer. He is also a very humble guy and one with a bright future in indoor soccer," according to Quinn.
Beltran, the son of Mexican immigrants who made the trek from Las Calientes in Southern Mexico in search of the American dream, is living out a dream of his own: that of becoming a professional soccer player.
"It was cool to see the old Sockers out here tonight (for a half-time exhibition which included members of the San Diego Spirit). These are the guys we looked up to as little kids. Getting asked to play by Brian (who was himself a former Sockers star) was pretty exciting."
Unlike most of his teammates, Beltran made the Sockers as a walk-on after a stellar four year career at SDSU. With a team well-stocked with quality forwards, Quinn wasn't looking for another attacker when Beltran started showing up at the Sockers practices eight months ago. He impressed Quinn however, playing against the Sockers in practice. "He did so well playing against our team that we invited him to join us (but as a defender). David is the type of player that would be appealing to any coach. Now everybody is pulling for him."
Beltran downplays his struggle to make the transition from a career attacker to a primarily defensive player. "You have to step it up," Beltran says. "Wherever I am asked to play here, I'll do it. You have to be a little more patient in the back. There are a lot of other guys on this team that can score, so it really isn't a big problem. I'm not under any pressure to score since that isn't really my job, but whenever the opportunity comes, I'll score." Beltran's two goals against Sacramento upped his season total to three. If he can continue to get regular minutes on the floor of the Sports Arena, there is no telling how many he might have by season's end.