A year ago at this time, Gerardo Flores was a senior at Central Valley High School.
Flores is currently contributing as a true freshman on the Cal State San Bernardino men’s soccer team.
“I don’t think I’ve surprised myself,” the 6-foot-1 173-pound forward said. “I know what I’m capable of. I’ve been practicing hard every single day. It feels good to be rewarded.”
Flores contributed off the bench during three of the Coyotes’ first five regular-season games.
He attempted two shots while logging 28 minutes of playing time in San Bernardino’s 3-2 CCAA-opening loss at Cal Poly Pomona on Sept 26.
He attempted two shots in 59 minutes as San Bernardino rolled to a 5-0 victory over at Notre Dame de Namur University on Sept. 21.
Flores was on the field for 14 minutes in a 2-2 tie at Dominican University on Sept. 19.
“I was ready to make my debut for the school,” he said.
Flores scored once in San Bernardino’s 4-1 home win against Azusa Pacific in exhibition play on Aug. 24.
“When I saw the ball go into the net, I was very happy,” he said. “I called my parents after the game. I made them proud.”
The Coyotes (3-1-1) currently rank No. 4 in the NCAA Division-II United Soccer Coaches’ Poll.
“We’re on a run right now,” he said. “Hopefully, we keep it going.”
Flores embraced the challenge of trying to earn a spot on San Bernardino’s active roster.
He accomplished that goal thanks to his work ethic and talent.
“I didn’t plan on red-shirting this year,” he said. “It feels good being in the position I’m in but I’m not satisfied. I’m hungry to get better.”
“I like it out here,” Flores added. “The people are nice. My teammates are amazing. We have a great coaching staff. I want to represent where I’m from, Northern California, and my team.”
Flores enjoyed a success-filled soccer career at Central Valley.
He collected 63 goals and 22 assists while leading the Hawks to 51 wins, two section finals appearances and one league title in three years.
Flores was voted 2019 Central California Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
He ranked first on the team in both goals scored (28) and assists (8).
Central Valley amassed a 10-2-0 record en route to a first-place finish in conference play.
“The transition (from high school to college) is not easy,” Flores said. “You have to adapt to everything. You have to take care of yourself, the way you eat and how much you sleep. Every single practice and game is important. You have to be consistent week in and week out.”