Lake Tahoe CC men’s soccer players commit on National Signing Day; Trujeque signs with San Francisco State
Coyotes headed to the next level
Jerrell Cato, Univ. of San Diego
Michael Akin, Univ. of North Georgia
Carlos Trujeque, San Francisco St.
Ivan Rodriguez, San Francisco St.
Sam Aitken (Fr.), Southern Oregon Univ.
Chava Garcia, Univ. of Antelope Valley
Cameron McConnachie, Southern Oregon Univ.
Dylan Obata, St. Thomas Univ.
Andres Orozco, Univ. of Antelope Valley
Dalton Randal, Ottawa Univ.
Danny Valdez, Univ. of Antelope Valley
When Carlos Trujeque graduated from South Tahoe High in 2012, continuing his education was an afterthought. Then two years later, Lake Tahoe Community College started a men’s soccer program — and everything changed for the local standout.
Trujeque signed with San Francisco State University on National Signing Day following two stellar seasons for the Coyotes. The dynamic attacker was one of 11 Lake Tahoe players to sign with four-year universities during a ceremony at the college Wednesday, Feb. 3.
“I never imagined going to a four-year school, so it’s really special,” Trujeque said. “I’m just thankful for it.”
After graduating from South Tahoe, Trujeque immediately joined the work force. He had a number of small jobs throughout the area over the next two years, and decided to take a shot at collegiate soccer when he heard LTCC was starting a men’s program.
“Right after high school I didn’t have my goals set straight and didn’t know what I really wanted in life,” Trujeque said. “I decided why not try out — I live right down the street.”
Trujeque had 22 goals and 12 assists in two seasons at LTCC, including 14 goals in 25 matches as a sophomore. He was a second team NSCAA Jr. College Men’s Div. III All-American selection, named first team All-State and brought home Golden Valley Conference Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year honors in his second season.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and it’s been frustrating at times. Having goals set and checking them off the list every time they happen just gave me motivation,” Trujeque said. “When you want something, you find a way to do it.”
A connection with the coaching staff and a love for the Gators’ home pitch ultimately led Trujeque to Div. II San Francisco State, where he plans to pursue a degree in kinesiology or Spanish. He’s headed to the Bay Area with teammate and fellow captain Ivan Rodriguez of Las Vegas, where the two will continue their careers together.
“When I found out he was going with me, I knew it was going to be fun,” Trujeque said. “With us being captains, becoming better friends, having respect for each other, and knowing how we play, our chemistry is just going to get better.”
Nine additional players signed letters of intent Wednesday, including South Lake Tahoe product Andres Orozco. Orozco signed with NAIA University of Antelope Valley in Lancaster, California, along with Las Vegas teammates Chava Garcia and Danny Valdez.
Jerrell Cato of London was the only Coyote to sign with a Div. I school at the ceremony, inking with University of San Diego. Fellow British striker Michael Akin from Enfield, England is headed to Div. II University of North Georgia.
Scottish goalkeeper Cameron McConnachie and British defender Sam Aitken — the lone freshman at the ceremony — each signed with NAIA Southern Oregon University. The Coyotes’ second signing class was rounded out with NAIA signees and Las Vegas natives Dylan Obata (St. Thomas University in Florida) and Dalton Randal (Ottawa University in Kansas).
“It allows them to enjoy the process, and also work for the next process,” Coyotes head coach Nick Arbelaez said. “Going to represent their families, themselves and the college at the next level is pretty special, and I’m extremely privileged to call myself their coach.”
Lake Tahoe’s outgoing sophomore class finished with a combined 32-9-5 record and a pair of conference championships in the first two seasons of the program. The Coyotes advanced to the CCCAA State Final Four in 2015, setting a high standard while laying a foundation for the future.
“This is a special class — it’s a class that really concretes the foundation for the future,” Arbelaez said. “They represent everything that we want coming in, and everybody we bring in should want to emulate what these guys did.”
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As another summer heads to Lake Tahoe, residents are finding ways to stay busy and one of the more popular activities to gain traction on both shores is pickleball.