Founded by Miguel Larranaga, the Ceres Earthquakes FC Elite girls soccer team has developed talent for the collegiate level.
“The ultimate goal is for the girls to go play soccer in college, and if that comes with a partial or full-ride scholarship, that makes it even better,” said Larranaga, 48. “We talk about that all the time.”
Central Valley High School grads Jocelyn Lopez and Abigail Martinez suited up for the Stanislaus State women’s soccer program this past season.
Ceres High grad Edith Larranaga was also a member of the team.
Lopez started at center back and Martinez contributed at defensive midfielder as the Warriors posted a 15-6-0 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Division-II Tournament.
Lopez’s outstanding play on defense earned her a spot on the California Collegiate Athletic Association Second Team.
Ceres High grad Mariah Trevino started at left defender as a true freshman on the Milwaukee School of Engineering women’s soccer team in 2019.
The Raiders compiled a 13-6-2 overall record, placed fourth in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference standings (9-2-1) and advanced to the semifinals of the NACC Tournament.
“I played for Miguel for eight years,” Trevino said. “One major thing I learned from him was to never be satisfied with the player you are and keep pushing to be an even better one.”
Ceres High seniors Miranda Larranaga and Siriana Gudino earned scholarship to Stanislaus State and Life Pacific University, respectively.
Larranaga (midfielder) and Gudino (goalkeeper) filled major roles while lifting the Bulldogs to new heights this past winter.
Ceres High amassed a program-best 18-1-1 overall record, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs and claimed the Western Athletic Conference crown (13-0-1).
Gudino was selected to the WAC First Team.
Larranaga earned second-team honors.
“I always call him (Miguel) my second dad,” said Gudino, who started playing soccer for Larranaga at the age of nine. “He taught me more than the skills of the game. He taught me life lessons as well.”
Led by Lopez, Martinez, Trevino, Gudino, Edith Larranaga and Miranda Larranaga, the Earthquakes FC Elite under-18 girls team climbed to No. 1 in the gotsoccer.com national rankings in July of 2019.
“There were thousands of teams and we were the best,” Miguel Larranaga said. “We’re always going to remember that.”
Ceres won all four of its games en route to claiming the Super 2 Group championship at the Pleasanton RAGE College Showcase on July 21. The Earthquakes competed in the 19-and-under division.
The Earthquakes collected one win and two losses in Bracket D at the July 27-29 San Diego Surf Cup.
“The commitment of the players and parents is amazing,” Miguel Larranaga said. They did it for a lot of years. That’s what made the team very strong.”
“You had to show up and put in the work to get playing time,” Trevino said. “The chemistry was one of the big things that made us stronger as a team. We were all like sisters. He (Miguel) was a father-figure to everyone on the team. He was determined to push us and help us succeed even with school. He was very supportive.”
“We weren’t the best when we first started,” Gudino said. “We worked hard for where we are now. Our coaches (Larranaga, Adam Bolanos and Humberto Luna) helped build us into the players we are today.”
“I’m very proud of all of the girls,” Miguel Larranaga said. “They made a commitment to be a part of the (Earthquakes) program for years. They had to give up a lot of stuff—birthdays and other big events. It changed their lives. If not for COVID-19, we’d still be playing.”
The Earthquakes usually compete year-round.
They play in five to eight tournaments, including the State Cup, during season.
"You give up so much of your personal life to be there because you love it so much,” Miguel Larranaga said. “The team becomes part of your family. You spend so much time together. You don’t have a lot of breaks. This is the biggest break I’ve had in the last 10-12 years. I’ve done a lot of work at my house—landscaping, floors and counter tops. My wife is happy.”