TUCSON, Ariz., April 4, 2014 – Tucson High Magnet School was presented with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy at a school assembly on Friday. The honor is part of the second annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions for Boys' Soccer presented by the Army National Guard and Tucson High Magnet is one of just 10 schools being honored.
The Badgers finished ranked No. 32 in the country by MaxPreps, the online high school sports leader and a CBSSports.com site. MaxPreps ranks more than 14,000 high school boys' soccer teams.
"Working with the Army National Guard, MaxPreps is delighted to honor Coach Arce and the Tucson Badgers as one of nation's elite high school boys' soccer teams," said President and Founder, Andy Beal. "We congratulate the coach, players and Tucson High Magnet School for a great season and earning the Army National Guard national ranking trophy."
Tucson High Magnet School shut out Copper Canyon 3-0 in the AIA Division II championship match. This is the school's first title in boys' soccer. They finished the 2013-14 season with a record of 24-0-3.
"It is a big deal for everyone at our school to be recognized on the Tour of Champions. The last time our school won a state title was 26 years ago in baseball so this year has been a dream season," said Tucson coach Ismael Arce. "It is a privilege to be honored by the National Guard, with who we have a lot of respect. This is one of the biggest recognitions we can receive and it is the end product of all the players' hard work and discipline."
The Tucson boys' soccer team had established many goals for the season, but their main objective was to qualify for states and subsequently do well. Because of team chemistry, experience, and leadership, the Badgers were able to do just that. In late November, Tucson won the Brandon Bean Tournament hosted by Salpointe High School (who won the state championship in 2011 and 2012) and then in December took the Chris Mayer Tournament hosted by Sabino High School. One of the biggest games of the season came when the Badgers beat their rival Salpointe, again, 2-0 in a conference game in December. These victories gave the Badgers added confidence going into the state tournament.
Coach Arce commended his players for being the prototypical student-athletes; they did well in school, were disciplined on the pitch, and took care of business come game time. The team was led by senior midfielders Carlos Vargas and Gabriel Zepp and sophomore forward Julian Gaona. Vargas and Zepp, who will both play at Pima College in the fall, had 11 goals/ 8 assists and 6 goals/ 12 assists respectively. Gaona led the team in goals with 31 on the season. Sophomore goalie Anthony Siaha commanded his box and proved to be an excellent shot stopper by only allowing 8 goals in 27 games.
Sergeant Brent Nelson of the Arizona Army National Guard presented Coach Arce and the Badgers with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy during a school assembly on Friday afternoon.
"For over 375 years, the men and women of the National Guard have come to the aid of their neighbors during times of need. As Citizen-Soldiers who serve part-time, we live and serve in more than 3,500 communities throughout the country," said Major Mark Burns of the Army National Guard. "It is our privilege to honor and recognize nationally ranked boys' soccer teams with Army National Guard national ranking trophy which includes the Minuteman statue, a symbol of the National Guard."