The best high school soccer players from the North Bay and Sonoma County leagues and North Central League are once again teaming up to play in an all-star game that will serve as a farewell for many seniors.
The third annual High School All-Star Soccer Game, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Rosa, is expected to produce an impressive display of soccer during Friday’s doubleheader.
From the North, the girls team will feature three-time All-Empire Large School Player of the Year Maddy Gonzalez, a Maria Carrillo striker who scored 24 goals in the fall. Her scoring capabilities and the coaching of Debra LaPrath helped the school win its fifth consecutive North Coast Section title last season. LaPrath will return as the North girls’ head coach this year after the team beat the South 2-0 last year under the coaching of Analy’s Brittney Briones.
LaPrath says the girls are excited to play together, many of them having played on club teams with each other in the past.
“The attitude is lighthearted. The kids consider it a great honor to play alongside the best of their league,” said LaPrath. “But when the whistle blows, they’re playing their hardest.”
The South girls team will be coached by Sonoma Valley High’s Mike Verdu, who LaPrath said is one of her favorite coaches.
For the boys, the North team will be led by Santa Rosa High School head coach Antonio Garcia, who led the school’s team to 11-1-2 last season. Tino Fonzeca of Roseland Prep will coach the South team, which beat the North last year 3-0.
Fonzeca’s Roseland Prep boys placed second in league last season with Enrique Sanchez averaging a goal a game. Sanchez will be in the South’s lineup Friday.
“We’re going to have some great talent. It’s going to be awesome,” said Fonzeca.
“I’m honored to coach these kids. To be honest, i’m just gonna sit back and enjoy the show.”
The doubleheader will be at Santa Rosa High School, with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. The girls game is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are free for children 10 and under, $10 for young adults ages 11 through 17, $12 for adults 18-64 and $10 for seniors 65 and older.
The Kiwanis club of Santa Rosa also sponsors high school baseball and football all-star games, although last year’s football game was canceled due to safety concerns with school equipment.