Although he played in just 12 games, Cerritos College sophomore defender Javier Cortez (San Diego Virtual School HS) secured a scholarship to play at Kansas Wesleyan University next season. Of those 12 games, Cortez started in five of them with the Falcons posting a 12-0-0 record with six of those games ending in shutout victories. He will be joining former teammates Ronald Gonzlalez and Jose Rivera, who signed with Kansas Wesleyan after last season and will be the 16th player since 2004 to sign with the Coyotes.
"I get very emotional when talking about Javi," said head coach Benny Artiaga. "He's a class act kid that waited his turn this season and was instrumental in our winning a title. He was here three years and patiently waiting his turn and was 100 percent ready when his name was called."
"Although I had other offers, this was the best fit for me due to pursuing my degree and continuing playing soccer at a top level," said Cortez. "Their environment seems to feel like home to me and the coaching staff is very caring toward the players on and off the field. Also having two ex-teammates from the previous year at Cerritos, I know we can contribute the same mindset and push the team for success."
Cortez was part of a Cerritos team that went 22-1-2 on the season and won the CCCAA State Championship and were named National Champions. Although he didn't record any points, Cortez helped clear the ball out of danger, while at the same time serving as a role that began offensive plays with fine passes.
"Cerritos prepared me physically and mentally to play at the next level," said Cortez. "Not only was there learning on the field, our coaching staff made us understand the importance of what a student-athlete actually is and how important it is to be a role model on campus and off. Also, how we have to sacrifice certain stuff in life to become successful. Now I'm prepared to face what's in store for me in the future with a positive mindset."
Last season, the Coyotes posted a 17-5-0 record and won the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship. They qualified for the NAIA National Championship Tournament, but suffered a 2-1 season-ending loss to Mid America Christian College in the opening round, which snapped their 15-match winning streak.
"Javi is the best teammate we ever had at Cerritos," added Artiaga. "He's just an exceptional young man. He played crucial minutes for us this season at a time where guys either were hurt or not playing well and our team didn't skip a beat when Javi was in."
"What I will remember the most about playing at Cerritos is my teammates/brothers and the bond we all built together on and off the field," continued Cortez. "Also, I'll never forget how each training session was always a battle against each other. We would leave it all on the field which made us twice as strong when it came to game day. We all had the same mindset which was to WIN everything and we sacrificed a lot to achieve our goal. Being part of National Championship team is a wonderful feeling because we overcame obstacles that were thrown in front of us and never gave up. This will definitely be a life long memory."
Cortez follows in a long line of Falcon players who have transferred to Kansas Wesleyan. The college suffered a huge tragedy back in 2010 when Eddie Valencia and Carlos Ornelas were killed in an automobile accident while driving to Kansas after signing their scholarship paperwork. A third Cerritos player, Briant Reyes, survived the accident.
"This scholarship could not have happened to a better person," said Artiaga. "I know that Eddie and Carlos will be carefully keeping an eye on him for the next two years."
January 2, 2019 M. Soccer: Defender Javier Cortez signs with four-year school
December 19, 2018 M. Soccer: Pair of Falcons sign with UC Riverside
December 7, 2018 M. Soccer: National awards come the Falcons way
December 4, 2018 M. Soccer: Esteban Camacho signs with Cal State Northridge
December 4, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos earns first National Championship
November 30, 2018 M. Soccer: Semifinal win sends Falcons to the championships
November 26, 2018 M. Soccer: State tournament-bound Falcons pick up conference awards
November 24, 2018 M. Soccer: Victory sends Falcons to state Final Four
November 20, 2018 M. Soccer: Overtime playoff win advances Falcons to next round
November 17, 2018 M. Soccer: Rejuvenated Falcons post playoff win
November 13, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons seeded #1 for the playoffs
November 9, 2018 M. Soccer: Win concludes regular season for conference champs
November 6, 2018 M. Soccer: Ninth win in a row spurned on by second half effort
November 2, 2018 M. Soccer: First half goals enough in 2-0 win
October 30, 2018 M. Soccer: Late goal gives Falcons 4-3 win
October 26, 2018 M. Soccer: Offensive output continues in 6-1 win
October 23, 2018 M. Soccer: Second half offensive explosion leads to 8-1 win
October 19, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos shows they can score from any position
October 16, 2018 M. Soccer: Last-second goal propels Falcons to 3-2 win
October 12, 2018 M. Soccer: Nation's top ranked team shuts out Mt. SAC
October 9, 2018 M. Soccer: Draw keeps the Falcons unbeaten in the division
October 5, 2018 M. Soccer: Win sets up first place showdown
September 28, 2018 M. Soccer: Second half goal leads Falcons to conference win
September 25, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons open conference play with 4-2 win
September 21, 2018 M. Soccer: Slow start for Falcons in 3-1 win over Allan Hancock
September 18, 2018 M. Soccer: Rematch of state semifinal game goes the Falcons way
September 14, 2018 M. Soccer: Road win sets up rematch of state semifinal game
September 7, 2018 M. Soccer: Best scoring chance turns into lone goal
September 2, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos puts six on the board in win
August 31, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons draw with defending state champ
August 28, 2018 M. Soccer: Unbeaten streak snapped with 2-1 loss