Daniel Ochoa ended his soccer career at Stanislaus State prematurely to focus on his other passion.
“I have no regrets leaving the sport,” the 2012 Central Valley High School grad said. “I got as much out of it as I could. You got to let go of things you love sometimes.”
Ochoa, 27, worked at Royal Barbers in Ceres for three years prior to becoming his own boss.
He opened Headquarters Barbershop at 3100 East Service Road, Suite 103 in December of 2016.
Ochoa opened a second location at 2913 North Tegner Road in Turlock in August of 2019.
“It (cutting hair) is something I’ve been doing since I was 13,” he said. “It was my hobby. But I treated it like my job. It became my career. I dropped out of college to focus 100 percent on my business. I never had a job besides just this.”
Ochoa sold his Ceres barbershop to his sister and nephew in January of 2020 so he could spend more time with his family.
“It was a little too much work going back and forth between the two shops,” he said. “I decided to focus on just this one. I really like Turlock. The people support local businesses here.”
Headquarters Barbershop is open five days a week.
Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“I do appointments only,” Ochoa said. “But we do take walk-ins when we’re not busy.”
Ochoa works at least four days a week.
“There are days I work 12 hours,” he said. “Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are our busiest days. I enjoy being my own boss. I get to set my own hours. But you have to put in a lot of work to make it successful. I’ve surrounded myself with great people. I have a solid clientele base. They’re in there quite often.”
Ochoa and other business owners throughout California were forced to shut down during the height of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Ochoa’s landlord didn’t charge him rent the two months his shop was closed.
“It was still stressful,” he said. “When I was going to reopen in May, I didn’t know if all my barbers would return. Business grew when we came back.”
Ochoa works alongside five other barbers in Turlock.
“We keep our business clean,” he said. “We’re six feet apart. We leave it up to the customers if they want to wear masks.”
Ochoa also formed a side business with two partners.
They sell barber supplies.
“We started two weeks ago,” he said. “I have a passion for the business and appreciate our clientele.”
Ochoa was a member of the Stanislaus State men’s soccer program for two seasons (2013, 2012).
He redshirted during his first year of college.
Ochoa reunited with former Central Valley High School teammates Jose Ramirez, Gerardo Cazares and Larry Hernandez during his final season with the Warriors.
He scored one goal and tallied two assists in 15 games.
He was on the field for a total of 470 minutes.
Ochoa logged playing time at forward.
“It was a memorable experience,” he said. “I really enjoyed traveling with the team. I didn’t lose my love for the sport. It was like a full-time job. You have class and soccer. I just wanted to enjoy playing soccer.”
Ochoa won Central Valley High School’s Golden Hawk Male Athlete of the Year Award in 2012.
He earned seven varsity letters during his prep athletic career, including four in soccer and three in football.
Ochoa collected 88 goals and 27 assists while leading Central Valley’s soccer team to four league titles and playoff berths, and two section finals appearances.
He was voted Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player senior year.
Ochoa scored a program-record 38 goals and dished out five assists.
He earned all-conference honors the previous three seasons, including first-team accolades twice and second-team recognition once.
Ochoa started playing soccer at the age of 12. He spent one season in the Ceres Youth Soccer Organization recreational league before joining the competitive ranks.
“You only get to go to high school once,” he said. “I loved playing soccer. I’m pretty satisfied with how I did. I set the bar pretty high for the young ones coming in. Time flies. You got to enjoy everything.”
Ochoa and his wife Mireya Aragon celebrated their third wedding anniversary on Sept. 2.
Son Nico was born on Jan. 30, 2020.
“It (fatherhood) changes you,” he said. “Coming home from work every day is enjoyable. I see him and he brightens up my day. I love spending time with my family. It’s a blessing. My son and wife have had a big impact on my life. That’s what keeps me going.”