Andres Velasquez helped the UC Davis men’s soccer team reach new heights during the 2019-20 school year.
The Aggies claimed their first-ever Big West Conference Tournament title and qualified for the NCAA Division-I Tournament for just the third time in program history.
Velasquez reflected on those past accomplishments this past month when interviewed by KCRA-3 Sports Director Del Rodgers.
The 2-minute, 52-second segment aired on television on Nov. 24. “The interview was done through Zoom,” said Velasquez, a 2017 Central Valley High School grad and junior midfielder at UC Davis. “We couldn’t meet in person because of COVID. I felt honored to represent my team and school.”
“It was a cool experience,” he added. “A bunch of my friends and family said they saw me on TV. Exposure is a big thing in soccer. Maybe it can open up some doors for me. Sacramento Republic FC is moving into the MLS when I graduate.”
Velasquez scored what proved to be the winning goal against visiting UC Santa Barbara during the conference tournament championship match.
He broke a scoreless tie 10 minutes into the second half.
The Aggies prevailed, 2-0.
UC Davis placed second at the Big West Tournament the previous two seasons.
“We finally got over the hump,” Velasquez said. “The third time was the charm.”
The Aggies posted a 13-5-2 overall record. UC Davis also earned a first-round bye for the NCAA Tournament.
Velasquez collected three goals, including two game-winners, and one assist while starting all 20 games last fall.
The Big West soccer campaign was supposed to be played this fall but will be delayed until at least January due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “They’re planning on starting the season on Feb. 8,” Velasquez said. “COVID testing is going to increase once the season starts.”
“I’m expecting to have a better season,” he added. “I have high expectations for myself. I’ve been working hard since January. I’m older. I’m experienced. I’m in the best shape of my life.”
A managerial economics major, Velasquez posted a career-best 3.9 grade-point average during the 2020 spring quarter.
Velasquez had a 2.1 GPA fall quarter freshman year.
Velasquez filled a major role as Central Valley High School’s boys soccer program compiled a 20-7-3 overall record and advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship game in 2017.
Velasquez and the Hawks upset No. 1 East Union and No. 4 Rio Americano on their way to the finals.
Velasquez’s production at forward earned him Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player honors.
He led the WAC in scoring with 24 goals. He ranked third in assists (9).
Velasquez is remembered as one of Central Valley’s all-time greatest players. He followed in the footsteps of Ozzie Ramos (2012, 2011), Daniel Ochoa (2011), Gerardo Cazares (2010), Jose Ramirez (2009) and Eddy Salinas (2006) by being voted a league MVP.