By DENNIS POPE | Press-Enterprise
PUBLISHED: April 13, 2018
“Lalo” is what everyone calls him – by family, friends and fans – and Eduardo Rodriguez heard his named called a lot this season.
Eduardo “Lalo” Rodriguez is the 2017-18 HSGameTime Boys Soccer Player of the Year for his excellence in midfield as Arlington High School set a school record for victories and advanced to the CIF Southern California Regional tournament.
“The goal as always is winning CIF and showing the next group what is possible,” Rodriguez said. “We made it to state, and my little brother – he’s a sophomore – got to play 20 minutes and show Coach (Kevin) Watson what he can do for next year.”
The two-year captain totaled 24 goals and 19 assists for the Lions (21-3-5 overall), who started the season on a 14-game unbeaten streak including wins in the Heritage Legacy Cup and the Champions Cup finals.
“That was one of my biggest goals and it happened. I’m surprised. Shows all the hard work I put into it this season.” said Rodriguez, who scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Temescal Canyon on Dec. 9.
“The thing I will remember most is winning the Champions Cup and scoring the game-winning goal,” he said. “That was an amazing moment.”
Rodriguez went on to score 10 goals across 10 games as the Lions went unbeaten (9-0-1) to win their first Inland Valley League title. He finished with 39 goals and 41 assists in 82 varsity games across four seasons.
“Winning the Inland Valley League championship, it’s been a while for the school since it won a league title so that was amazing for our community, for our team and for Coach Watson,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez scored twice in the playoffs – including once in the CIF SoCal Division 2 Regional loss to Torrey Pines – and was selected to the All-CIF-Southern Section Division 2 team.
He’s accepted a partial scholarship from Sonoma State and will begin a collegiate career following a few more tournaments with Watson at Riverside City Football Club.
“It’s been four years with Kevin Watson. I feel like he trained me and made me physically, if not mentally, to get to a point where I’m at right now,” Rodriguez said. “We got a few games left together and then I’ll be off to college.”