All-Area/All-Journal Boys Soccer Team
Player of the Year
Marcus Decouto (Turlock)
Roberto Calderon, Delhi
Hector Jimenez, Denair
Michael Cardoso, Hilmar
Bryan Milan, Hilmar
Eduardo Zamora, Turlock
James Filling, Turlock
Allan Sanchez, Turlock
Ricardo Casillas, Pitman
Carlos Amaya, Pitman
Isac Contreras, Pitman
Joel Fuentes (GK), Delhi
Rodrigo Rodriguez, Denair
Cesar Flores, Denair
Daniel Galdamez, Pitman
Nathan Son, Turlock Christian
Jared Solorio, Pitman
Isaiah Johnson, Turlock
Samuel Padilla, Turlock
Mark Ceja, Delhi
Edgar Tapia, Delhi
Alejandro Contreras, Delhi
Vlad Montejo (GK), Pitman
Humble is just one word that can describe Turlock High's soccer star Marcus Decouto.
Decouto, who just completed his senior season with the Bulldogs, did more for his team over the last four years and the hard work has paid off. The soon-to-be collegiate soccer player was also named the 2016-17 Turlock Journal Player of the Year coming off a league title and semifinal run in the playoffs.
“It means a lot,” said Decouto of being named the Player of the Year for the Journal. “Just showed hard work pays off in the end... honestly, I am lost for words, I have to thank my family and dad for taking me to Santa Clara every weekend, all my coaches, mom and sister, means a lot.”
The success for the Bulldogs was a long time coming after Decouto and his teammates struggled through his first three seasons despite his standout play.
All three were losing seasons until this past year when the Bulldogs finally broke out of their slump and blasted through the Central California Conference. The team went up 7-3-2 in league play, earning their first league title since 2012, while amassing an overall record of 17-8-2.
“I’d say Marcus is the type of player that every coach dreams of having,” said Turlock head coach Doug Sperry. “He is amazing on and off the field. He makes everyone around him better. He plays with heart and a passion that motivates his teammates. I am extremely proud of him and everything he has accomplished.”
Decouto led the Bulldogs in scoring and assists and was a focal point in the center midfield position for the team this past year.
“I just felt this season coming into it as a team we had a lot of confidence and that helped me play at a higher level with my teammates and it translated into results,” he said. “We started getting wins and became a unit as one family, we made a run and should have made the finals but that’s how soccer works sometimes.”
Decouto was such a huge difference maker that in 10 of the 12 games in CCC play (Decouto was suspended for two games for receiving a red card), he scored eight goals and assisted in nine of the team’s 28 goals in league play, assisting in more than 60 percent of the scores.
"So, he was responsible in one way for over half of our goals in league," said Sperry. "More impressive since he had to sit out those two games, and I don't have the preseason stats."
The 'Dogs made a semifinal run in the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section Tournament after ousting No. 6 Davis in the opening round as a No. 11 seed.
Turlock then notched a win over No. 14 Edison in the quarterfinal round, a team who had upset No. 3 Granite Bay the game before and earned a spot in the semifinal contest where they unfortunately fell to No. 2 Jesuit in a slippery game.
“I’d never been to playoffs before so I didn't have experience but we all had extra motivation,” said Decouto. “The goal was to make the finals but I was proud of how we played and the run. Making it at least to playoffs was a good way to go out. The last couple of years had been rough and this year gave new life into our program.”
Decouto started and played every game during his four-year career for coach Sperry and the 'Dogs know he will be missed.
“Obviously, we will miss him, but I know he will go on to do great things and I am excited to see where the future takes him,” said Sperry.
Decouto is currently committed to play for University of California, Merced.
“UC Merced is great and it's great to be able to continue playing,” Decouto added. “Being able to get an opportunity and play a lot in my first year was a big reason and my parents can watch me because at the end of the day I wouldn't be here without my parents. They taught me everything I know.”
All of the traits that Decouto brings are the reasons which he was chosen among his peers and nominated by the area coaches to be considered for this award.