By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turlock’s Mejia earns Journal POY honors
Beni Mejia
Beni Mejia (7) of Turlock High works around Bellarmine Prep defenders during their first round match in the CIF Northern California State Tournament. Mejia was also named the Turlock Journal 2018-19 Player of the Year.

Turlock High soccer standout Beni Mejia is the 2018-19 Turlock Journal Player of the Year for the second straight year after leading his squad to new heights this season.

“I didn’t get really good stats, just tried to go out and win every game, all that mattered at the time,” said Mejia. “We played well as a team, no individual, we didn’t care who scored, we cared about winning and that is the reason we were so successful.”

Mejia was part of arguably the best boy’s soccer team in the section for the entire season — until the section final when they fell to Jesuit.

Following a big 2-1 win over Jesuit in the preseason, including an unbeaten streak that extended into the final game of the regular season, Mejia and the ‘Dogs entered the postseason with the most success the program has ever seen.

The Bulldogs maintained a consistent season among the best teams in the country.

More than halfway through the year, Turlock managed to stay in the top 25-30 in California while holding down a top 100 spot in the country.

They finished the year with a record of 22-3-3.

They also closed out the year ranked No. 22 in the state and No. 79 in the country.

Turlock only lost three times, to the best of the best.

First, they fell to No. 25 in California, Pitman. They also lost to No. 10 Jesuit and No. 3 Bellarmine Prep.

BP is also No. 5 in the country while Jesuit is No. 33. Pitman is No. 83 in the United States.

Turlock won three straight games in the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section tournament, as they earned a spot in the section final against Jesuit, where they fell 3-0.

“When the season started our goal was to go for the section championship and we worked hard and it was a big thing in general to represent our team and town. It is accomplishment,” said Mejia. “We were satisfied to a point, but we felt we could have done better, but we can’t change it so we move on.”

Turlock lost to BP in the first round of the CIF Northern California State Tournament after a 4-1 final.

Turlock, along with Pitman, finished with a 9-1 record in the Central California Athletic League, earning them co-champions in the first year competing in league.

The ‘Dogs outscored league opponents, 36-5.

“Honestly, it was because we played together. If we were individuals we would not have been as successful,” said Mejia. “We picked some teams apart, even though we lost at the end we didn’t give up. Everyone wanted to win and everyone was on the same page and wins came, but we put in hard.”

Mejia was also voted the CCC’s Most Valuable Player as a junior last season.

He was named the first ever Central California Athletic League MVP this past season.

Mejia is planning on playing at the collegiate level and has been in contact with a couple of four-year colleges, but has yet to decide he said.



All-Journal Boys Soccer

Player of the Year: Beni Mejia (Turlock)

Coach of the Year: Doug Sperry (Turlock)


All-Area/All-Journal Boys Soccer Team

1st Team

Luke Redman, Turlock

Jeremy Valenzuela, Turlock

Xavier Barajas, Pitman

Bryan Manriquez, Pitman

Bryan Millan, Hilmar

Daniel Galdamez, Pitman

Felipe Lopez, Pitman

Ethan Aiken, Hilmar

Marc Matos, Hilmar

Jarod Solario, Pitman

Isaiah Johnson, Turlock

Orlando Jimenez, Turlock

Erick Serrano, Delhi

Alexis Aguilar, Delhi


2nd Team

Blake Carmona, Pitman

Roy Gonzalez, Pitman

Jose Guerrero, Hilmar

Miguel Padilla, Hilmar

Angel Villasenor, Delhi

Gabriel Aguilar, Delhi

Brian Gonzales, Delhi

Alex Mejia, Turlock

Alex Ayala, Turlock

Samuel Galdamez, Turlock

Adrian Diaz, Pitman

Angel Ruiz, Pitman

Daniel Borges, Pitman

Micah Bergthold, Turlock Christian

Alejandro De la Cruz, Denair