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The Register's boys soccer coach of the year is Godinez's Ruben Fernandez, who guided the team to the CIF-SS Division 2 title and the CIF Southern California Regional Division II championship. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Boys soccer coach of the year: Ruben Fernandez, Godinez

STAFF WRITER

Changes to the playoff system were expected to make it harder for the Godinez boys soccer team to win a CIF-SS title this season, as the Grizzlies were moved up to Division 2 after capturing the Division 4 title in 2015-16.

But that didn’t keep Godinez, led by Coach Ruben Fernandez, from making school history by winning just about everything it could.

The Aliso Cup? They won that in December. The Orange Coast League championship? The Grizzlies claimed that. The CIF-SS Division 2 championship? They won that too.

And this March, the Grizzlies didn’t come up a goal short in a CIF Southern California Regional Final like they did last year. This time they cruised past Santa Maria, 3-1, in the final.

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ALL-COUNTY BOYS SOCCER

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“We have done it all. The kids won basically everything that they entered. It is very rewarding,” said Fernandez, who is the Register’s boys soccer coach of the year. “I am very happy for the players and the school. It is a reward for all of the hard work that we have put in. It means a lot.

“The expectations were high, but I have to give credit to the kids that they were able to live up to those expectations.”

The Grizzlies ended the season ranked No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 in the state.

Godinez also scored 95 goals in 27 games, finishing with a plus-80 goal differential and a 0.538 goals against average.

During the playoffs, the Grizzlies outscored their opponents, 23-3. They ended the season with a 3.4 goals-per-game average.

The Grizzlies had plenty of talent, but Fernandez couldn’t just sit back and let the Grizzlies do their thing on game day. He had two significant holes to fill on the backline. Oscar Salas was the only returner. Godinez managed to post 16 shutouts, and it didn’t allow an opponent to score for four consecutive games during Orange Coast League play. The Grizzlies gave up four fewer goals than the 2015-16 team.

“I was surprised at the way that they new kids on the backline stepped it up. That was very impressive,” Fernandez. “I thought it was going to be very difficult to top what we did last year, but we did it.”

Contact the writer: ddottore@scng.com


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