A first-generation college student, Ozzie Ramos made his debut with the San Diego State men's soccer team last week.
The 2014 Central Valley High School grad logged 25 minutes of playing time at defensive center midfielder during the Aztecs' 2-1 exhibition match loss to UC San Diego last Thursday.
"I feel really blessed to be able to have the chance to be here in San Diego," Ramos said. "It's a great place. It's been a fun experience so far."
San Diego State will open the 2014 regular season against visiting Cal State Bakersfield this Friday at 7 p.m.
"There are a lot of young players on the team," Ramos said. "We're all pushing each other. My goal is to earn a starting position. There are 11 spots. Everyone wants one. I feel like I'm getting better every day. I have to continue working hard and I'm confident it will come."
Ramos moved to San Diego on Aug. 4.
School started on Monday. Ozzie will be required to attend eight hours of study hall each week.
Ramos lives in dorms on campus across the street from the soccer stadium.
"I'm motivated to give 120 percent in whatever I'm doing," said Ozzie, a health-science major. "I've been out here for almost a month training with the team. That's made the transition pretty smooth. Soccer and school. I'm prepared for the challenge. We have everything here to help us."
San Diego State University has compiled a 6-11-2 overall record and placed fifth in the Pac-12 standings behind Washington, UCLA, Cal and Stanford this past season. The Aztecs finished ahead of Oregon State.
San Diego was picked to finish fifth in the 2014 Pac-12 preseason coaches' poll.
"It's just a poll," Ramos said. "It means nothing. We're a young team. We have one of the toughest schedules in the country. We just have to be consistent throughout the season."
Ramos became just the second Hawk athlete in school history to earn a scholarship to a Division-I college. He signed a national letter of intent with San Diego in front of family and friends inside Central Valley's gymnasium on Feb. 5.
Latrisha Jordan (class of 2008) starred in track and field at Fresno State.
Jairo Ramos, Ozzie's twin brother, plays soccer for Modesto Junior College.
Ozzie also has three sisters: Nayeli (eighth grade) and twins Jessica and Yaneli (third grade).
"I'm the first one from my family to go to college," said Ramos, the son of Rafael and Cecilia. "I'm just very blessed. I'm looking forward to passing on my experiences and knowledge from here to whoever needs the help."
Ozzie earned a spot on Central Valley's varsity boys soccer team his sophomore year and developed into one of the program's top players.
The standout midfielder tied for first in California in assists (29) and ranked fifth in goals (31) during his final season with the Hawks. He also claimed the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award for the second year in a row.
The Hawks compiled a program-best 26-2-0 overall record, captured their sixth straight conference title and advanced to the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.
Central Valley also accomplished another first by posting a perfect 12-0-0 record in WAC play.
The top-seeded Hawks lost 3-2 to No. 3 Christian Brothers in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship game. The Falcons snapped Central Valley's team-record 20-game winning streak.
Ramos had a breakout year with Central Valley in 2012. He tallied 22 goals and 14 assists as the shorthanded Hawks (24-3-2) fell 2-0 to River Valley in the section finals. Ozzie ended his junior season prematurely so he could compete for the Maryland-based ASA Milan Black Hawks under-16 travel club in a college showcase tournament in New Jersey.
Ramos tallied two goals and four assists his sophomore year with Central Valley, which amassed a 19-2-1 overall record, placed first in the WAC (10-1-1) and lost 5-2 to East Union in the semi-final round of the playoffs. Ozzie missed the second half of the 2011 conference season after moving to Mexico to play soccer.
San Diego State's games are steamed live on goaztecs.com.
"All the kids at Central Valley are following him," said Omar Leon, Ramos' high-school coach. "He's a role model. Ozzie made the right decision early in his life as a player and student. He's worked really hard for everything. He's the most complete player I've coached. He always carried a ball with him and always practiced. He was self-motivated."