Three Hillsborough County soccer players take home Jose Alvarez Awards
YBOR CITY - This year three players instead of the usual two took home Jose Alvarez Awards for the best male and female soccer players in Hillsborough County. Co-winners were selected among the boys, the first time there has been a tie since 1991.
Leto's Davinson Mera and Wharton's Clifford Adjei both began playing soccer at age 4 while living in other countries. Mera, who once lived in Colombia and moved to Florida two years ago, had 13 goals for the Falcons in his senior year and was named the MVP of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association all-star game after scoring a hat trick and adding an assist in his team's 5-2 win.
Adjei picked up the game in Italy, moving to Florida when he was 13. The forward, who will be attending St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York, led his team with 19 goals this past season, with a hat trick in a December win against Blake.
Berkeley Prep's Ellie Laxer had a team-best 22 goals and 19 assists for the Bucs, who advanced to the Class 2A region semifinals. Laxer shared an unexpeted favorite memory from her playing career.
"My best memory actually came in the third minute of my career when I was in the eighth grade," said Laxer, who will attend Furman University. "We were defending a corner kick and I blocked a shot with my face and my nose was so bloody. I had to come out for a little bit but the important thing is that I was able to get back in the game."
Needless to say toughness, mental and physical, is key for soccer players.