With Ignacio “Nacho” Diaz in goal, Truckee High soccer opponents settled for more than their share of goose eggs over the past three seasons.
Fortunately for them, Truckee’s shot-blocking machine is moving on, as Diaz signed his National Letter of Intent Monday to play soccer at Division I Central Christian College of Kansas.
“I’m pretty excited. I’m just looking forward to going to play, as well as finishing up school,” said Diaz, who signed his letter on a table adorned with red and white balloons and blue Central Christian Tigers swag set up in front of the school’s trophy case.
On hand for the ceremony were Diaz’s father Francisco, little brother David, Truckee coach Casey Eberhardt and Vice Principal Grant Steunenberg. A fellow student popped by to offer his congratulations.
The send-off marked the end of a fine three-season span in which Diaz allowed fewer than 50 goals for the perennial powerful Wolverines in 76 games. He recorded 19 shutouts in 29 games his senior season, allowing 16 goals total. He had 18 shutouts in 25 games as a junior, allowing only 11 goals along the way. Complete stats from his sophomore year were not available.
“To give up under 50 goals in three years is pretty remarkable,” said Eberhardt, who explained that Diaz made up for his lack of height with above-average leaping ability to go along with his athleticism and intelligence. “He has really good jumping ability, up or side to side, and his positioning is really good.”
Central Christian College coach Aaron Hoxie recruited Diaz while playing for his club team in a Las Vegas tournament this past winter. He contacted Diaz a couple weeks later, inviting him to visit the campus and meet his future teammates. “I went down there for five days and got to play with the guys, and I feel like I fit in,” said Diaz, who received an athletic scholarship that covers 75 percent of his tuition.
“He’s been working really hard, so I definitely think he has a really good chance of succeeding. He’s definitely a quality player,” Eberhardt said.
Another Truckee senior, Jose Sarabia, might follow Diaz out to Central Christian College, which is located near Kansas City, but he still has to turn in his final grades once they are complete, Eberhardt said.