A model student-athlete, Central Valley High School's Ozzie Ramos will continue his education and soccer career at Division-I San Diego State next fall.
"It's still shocking because there are a lot of players that play all their lives and don't get the opportunity I'm getting," he said. "I just have to make the most of it. I'm just very thankful. Everybody around me has contributed to this. It's nothing individual."
Ramos committed to the Aztecs last winter. Ozzie was awarded a scholarship for his academic and athletic success.
He signed a national letter of intent with San Diego State in front of family and friends inside Central Valley's gymnasium on Feb. 5.
"It's one thing off my checklist," said Ozzie, who carries a 3.9 grade point average and plans on taking pre-med courses in college. "It's a relief. Everything is set but I'm not going to stay too comfortable. I'm still going to work hard. I have a long way to go."
Ramos visited San Diego several times, including once in September, before deciding to become an Aztec.
"I love the location," he said. "They have the right staff and people there to help me get to the next level. My dream is to play professionally. That's my ultimate goal. It's not going to be easy."
San Diego State compiled a 6-11-2 overall record and placed fifth in the Pac-12 standings behind Washington, UCLA, Cal and Stanford this past season. San Diego State finished ahead of Oregon State.
"No positions are secure," Ramos said. "I'm going to work hard to try to earn a starting spot. I've already started to prepare. I'm looking forward to making a difference."
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 Western Athletic Conference 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.
"We accomplished everything we could," Ozzie said. "We didn't win the section title. But we broke a lot of records. Life gives you second chances. Mine will come at the next stage."
Ramos suited up for Olympica United FC 96s, a rival club team, overseas last April.
Olympica placed in the top 24 in Spain thanks to a 3-0 record in group play.
United FC played five showcase games in Russia.
"It was a great experience," said Ramos, a member of J.R. Maldonado's Milan FC Club since the eighth grade. "There was a lot of diversity."
Ozzie trains three times a week with his main club team.
"I just want to become a better player," he said. "I'm sure I can accomplish that."
Ramos became just the second Central Valley athlete in the school's history to earn a scholarship to a Division-I.
Latrisha Jordan (class of 2008) starred in track and field at Fresno State.
Fellow Hawk seniors Ja'Quan Gardner (football) and Ryan Donnelly (boys basketball) signed with Humboldt State and Stanislaus State, respectively.
"It's an honor to be in the same class as other great athletes," Ozzie said. "Soccer's been a part of my life for 17 years. I just enjoy playing every day. I do a lot of individual training before and after school. My father and brother help me out a lot. I'm very thankful."