NMMI Sports Press
After a stellar season under 14th-year head coach John Barbour, six players from the New Mexico Military Institute boys’ soccer team were named to the Class A-AAA All-State Team.
The Colts were undefeated in district, wrapping up the 4-3A title with a perfect 6-0 record, and lost just one match in the regular season for a 19-2-1 mark prior to the post-season.
As the No. 2 seed in the NMAA Class 3A State Playoffs, NMMI advanced to the title match but fell just short after four 10-minute overtimes in a 4-2 penalty-kick shootout to St. Mike’s, finishing with the ‘red’ trophy for second place.
Coach Barbour was extremely proud of his team’s effort this season and proud too, for the respect given to the members of this year’s squad via the amount of All-State selections.
“We’ve had one or two make the All-State team before,” said Barbour, “but this year we did really well and those efforts were rewarded with six All-State selections.”
NMMI accrued one 2nd team selection, while five were tapped to 1st team honors:
2nd Team Midfielder Jose Donnadieu – Sophomore
“Jose is a great and often underrated player,” began coach Barbour. “Many of our opponents were so wrapped up with some of our other offensive threats that many times they left Jose unmarked. But he’s one of the players that allowed us to dominate the possession of the ball throughout the season, and was also gifted at distributing the ball to other players to create scoring opportunities. He locked things down at midfield while giving us prospects on the attack.”
1st First Midfielder Andre Bleizeffer – Senior
“Andres has been with the team now for three seasons,” said the coach. “He’s a defensive specialist, very physical, who is not afraid to body-up against a player with the ball, or go through someone to get possession. He did a great job breaking up attacks and did a lot of the grunt work that often doesn’t get much recognition.”
1st Team Goalkeeper Allen Varela – Junior
“Varela is just a physical freak with his tall, long body, and his reactions are just so quick,” said coach of his 6’3 keeper. “During the regular season Allen didn’t get a lot of chances to make saves because we held possession of the ball so well. But when called upon, he came out and made some tremendous saves, and keep us in those close-fought games, especially during all the overtime matches that were decided by shootouts at State.”
1st Team Striker Danielo Angulo – Junior
“The Lawn-mower, Angulo, just took it to teams,” laughed coach about his primary weapon on offense, who averaged more than a goal per game for the Colts during the regular season. “He scored so many goals for us and was one of the top point-earners in the state for goals and assists. Simply put, he won a lot of games for us. Teams had to always account for him and his attacking prowess. He is just an exceptional offensive threat.”
1st Team Defender Kunal Camp – Senior
“Kunal can just flat-out run and he doesn’t stop,” said Barbour about his senior fullback. “He plays in full-sprint mode, the entire game, 60-yards from box to box. He’s solid on defense and also scored a few goals for us as well. He’s another physical player and just got better and better with every game he played.”
1st Team Defender Alejandro Barcenas – Junior
“Alejandro ‘El Gato’ Barcenas is the complete package when it comes to playing in the center fullback position,” exclaimed Barbour. “He prevents players from turning, does a great job stopping shots, and he’s not afraid of contact. He’s going to win the ball: it doesn’t matter if that ball is in the air or being controlled by another player. That helped us retain possession and also got us some goals off headers from crosses and corner-kicks. If he weren’t so good at center-back, he’d probably be playing up front as a striker.”
“I’m proud of all of our kids – the entire team from top to bottom,” finished up coach Barbour. “It’s not just about the ones that made the All-State team, but these six are tremendous athletes who really worked hard. I’m happy to see them be rewarded for all they gave to the team this season.”