2009-09-11 / Sports

Mejia Looks To Add More Goals To Resume

By Elio Velez

Beach Channel's Carlos Mejia (center) gets past two Martin Van Buren defenders. Beach Channel's Carlos Mejia (center) gets past two Martin Van Buren defenders. It was certainly a big adjustment when Beach Channel/Channel View High School senior Carlos Mejia and his family arrived from El Salvador three years ago.

It took a few years to get used to living in a new environment and learning a new language. But along the way, Mejia used his love of soccer to join the school team while he got familiar with his surroundings.

Last year, Mejia started to get accustomed to scoring goals, which did 18 times last year. And now with a comfort level clearly established, the senior forward says he is clearly read to lead his team to a PSAL B boys soccer title this fall.

"This is my passion. I love to do it," Mejia says. "I love shooting the ball. That's what I love to do. Score goals."

Mejia isn't the tallest of players at 5-7, but the Beach Channel/Channel View boys' soccer does has a powerful right foot.

He would have liked the opportunity to score his first goal on Wednesday, but Beach Channel won via forfeit over Springfield Gardens in what was scheduled as the first game of the PSAL season.

Springfield Gardens only had nine players present, short of the 11 required to compete.

While his soccer skills are already established, head coach Dominic Stanco said his star forward was ready to take on a leadership role. Mejia was named one of the team captains.

"Soccer was his comfort zone. He made friends. He's been on the team for two years and this is this third year, and now he feels this is his team," Stanco said.

"His English has improved tenfold. And now that helps because he can communicate how he feels, what he wants and everybody is jelling around him."

Mejia, who will graduate in January, won't be the only talented player on the roster. Stanco says his team has a combination of size, speed and ability in numerous positions.

Senior midfielder Jose Baires, a four year starter, is a creative midfielder. Ryan Creese, a senior, adds size and speed from the midfield position.

Fredy Sazo, Cesar Alvaro and Mohamed Toure will be a few of the players who are the options start in a restructured defense. Stanco says those players have the ability to replace the since graduated Slawomir Wloch and John Okoroerhun. If they all can jell together effectively on the field, Beach Channel can stake the steps necessary to forget last year's second round elimination by Hillcrest. The Dolphins believed they were talented enough to get to the championship, but fell to the Hawks 3-1.

Mejia believes this year's squad is ready to overcome any obstacles placed in his team's way. One of the first tests of the season will be today's game at Jamaica High School (4 p.m.), who are the reigning PSAL B league champions.

"I've been practicing with them the whole summer. I got confident that we are going to get to the last game," Mejia said. "Our goal is the city championship."

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