Beni Mejia of Turlock High is the 2017-18 Turlock Journal Player of the Year for boys soccer, after the standout had an above average junior campaign.
It was also the final year competing in the Central California Conference for Turlock, and Mejia left his mark, assisting the Bulldogs as they clinched the CCC title one last time.
“I can’t really describe it, I just played hard every game, I didn’t get the best stats ever or expected to get anything,” said Mejia. “I just wanted to win, none of that mattered.”
Mejia’s humility was just one of the factors that also earned him recognition by his peers in the CCC.
Mejia was also voted the CCC’s Most Valuable Player.
“One of the best all-around players I have ever seen. Works hard on offense and defense, every second he is on the field,” said Turlock head coach Doug Sperry. “Usually the league MVP goes to a guy with great stats, but he was the unanimous pick. He was also filling in a big hole with Marcus gone and missing all preseason he came in the game one and took over.”
Took over could be an understatement.
Mejia stepped on to the pitch and he instantly stood out.
His clean style and never-ending motor allowed him to weave through defenders and allow himself and his teammates to create chances.
“He draws tons of attention and makes everyone around him better,” said Sperry. “He’s a natural leader and has this amazing competitiveness about him that bring his teammates level of play up right with him.”
Turlock went 16-6-5 overall and 7-2-3 in their final year in the CCC and made the postseason.
Mejia finished league play with a pair of goals and five assists.
“He didn’t tear up the stat sheet, but does everything,” Sperry added.
It helped that Mejia grew up competing with an older brother. That gave him an opportunity to see competition at a higher level early on. This along with playing for a club team.
“I play with Milan FC Forza from Ceres since my freshman year and I played with my older brother and that helped since I was always the smaller guy and had to tough it out,” said Mejia.
Mejia is not done and is hoping to assist the Bulldogs into another postseason berth after his squad clinched a playoff berth in the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section tournament.
Unfortunately, Turlock fell to Tokay in the first round, 2-1.
“Next year we lose a lot of players, but we have a good group and hopefully some of the other guys could do well and we should go to playoffs again,” said Mejia. “We have a great group of kids. From the first game I came back, the rest of the guys were ready to play and made it easier for me.”
All-Journal Boys Soccer Team
Player of the Year
Beni Mejia (Turlock)
Ruben Grimaldo, Delhi
Axel Altamirano, Turlock
Jarod Solario, Pitman
Roberto Calderon, Delhi
Samuel Martinez, Pitman
Samuel Gaona, Turlock
Isaiah Johnson, Turlock
Jose Guerrero, Hilmar
Nathan Son, Turlock Christian
Luis Carrillo, Turlock
Vlad Montejo, Pitman
Allan Sanchez, Turlock
Marc Matos, Hilmar
Daniel Galdamez, Pitman
Felipe Lopez, Pitman
Kyle Cervantes, Denair
Ramiro Dias, Denair
Alex Flores, Denair
Gideon Hoag, Turlock Christian
Edward Olivera, Turlock
Ethan Aiken, Hilmar
Abel Cervantes, Delhi