Miguel Galdamez and Adrian Yepez always shared strong soccer skills but never had the chance to play together. That will change soon.
Both signed their letters of intent last week to play soccer for the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors and head coach Dana Taylor, who has turned the program into a national contender.
The former Pitman and Hilmar High varsity stars will join forces at Stan State to be part of an already progressive and unique Division II soccer program.
“It is something I always wanted to do throughout my career and I knew many people had the chance but I had a chance to go to the school I wanted to and Stan State made it overall better,” said Galdamez.
“I always liked Stanislaus because it’s close to home and I never really wanted to go out of state. I think being close to my family and friends was just a right decision I made,” said Yepez. “My goal is to make my family proud, and to play my four years of college and hopefully everything goes well and maybe try out somewhere for pro eventually.”
In his final season at Hilmar High, Yepez led his team to a 17-4-2 overall record, and a Division-VI Sac-Joaquin Section title after his team defeated Gustine in penalty kicks.
Yepez went on to earn all-league honors for his third year in varsity and left a mark in Yellowjacket soccer history.
“It was great to finish out my senior year with bringing home the blue banner and that will be something that I will never forget,” said Yepez. “But I really owe a lot to my teammates and coaches, well everyone has helped one way or another, but I always enjoyed traveling which I did a lot of.”
Yepez, who began to play travel ball at the age of six and never looked back after he witnessed the opportunities that were presented while competing at a high level. He continued to work towards his achievements, playing for multiple clubs, most recently, playing with the East Valley Quakes and knows that soccer is something that runs in his family.
His fluidity and presence on the pitch gave him Division I offers from schools such as University of Pacific and UC Davis, proving he is a difference maker, and becoming the first member of his family to achieve a scholarship to play soccer.
Galdamez, recently led the Pride to a 17-7-4 record as a senior, including a berth into the Division-I SJS semifinal game, eventually losing to Rocklin in penalty kicks. Pitman ended the year with a ranking of 16th in the state.
The route that Galdamez took was different after the former Pride standout had surgery after his junior season.
This limited his exposure and held him from competing at three showcases but Galdamez was determined to get back on the pitch as soon as possible and achieve his goal of obtaining a college scholarship.
“I was mad. I had surgery on my appendix and it took me out. I was out for a few weeks and thought I would not get recognized but luckily I went out there and played after a couple weeks,” said Galdamez. “I slowly started to build up my game and played the best month this past November.”
Galdamez recalls the restless hours and times he would need to travel to Stockton or further for practice at least three times a week.
“We gave up a lot of things, sometimes my brothers wouldn’t go to practice and I was always tired at school,” said Galdamez. “I was always looking to take naps and I would come back and sometimes I wouldn’t finish homework because I was so tired but I still managed to do it, but it is definitely worth it.”
After making a huge commitment and sacrifice, Galdamez is glad that his family finally is able to see the hard work pay off and they get to watch him play at home.
“I want to win a National title and make the NCAA tournament. Going pro is always been a dream, but college is the goal,” Galdamez added.
The Stanislaus men's soccer team will have their first game against Academy of Art at 2 p.m. Sept. 3.