M. Soccer: Falcons announce seven player signings

Adrian Becerra is one of seven Falcons to sign
Adrian Becerra is one of seven Falcons to sign

In a season where the Cerritos College men's soccer team advanced to the CCCAA State Semifinals, the team has announced that seven of their players have signed with four-year schools. The seven, six of which were sophomores include Jose Ponce (University of California, Riverside), Adrian Becerra (Loyola Marymount University), Hernan Perez (University of Providence-Montana), Hector Jimenez (University of Texas of the Permian Basin), Oscar Canela (University of Texas of the Permian Basin), Jose Rivera (Kansas Wesleyan University) and Andrew Perez (University of Texas of the Permian Basin), who is the lone freshman.

Ponce, a two-time 1st Team South Coast Conference selection, was also named 2nd Team All-West Region as a freshman. He was the anchor of the Falcon defense that recorded 13 shutouts on the season, including the first eight games of the year. He missed seven games due to injury, but came back to help Cerritos on their playoff run. Although the Highlanders went 5-13-1 on the year in 2017, they advanced to the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament.

Becerra, a two-time all-conference selection, accounted for three goals and a team-high nine assists as a sophomore. He recorded three games with a pair of assists, and also had a helper in the Falcons game-winning playoff goal against Santa Monica College. The Lions went 4-12-2 last season, but will be able to utilize the speed and Becerra offers from his midfielder position. Becerra is the second Cerritos player to transfer to Loyola Marymount in the last few years. Connor Johnson, who was the MVP of the 2014 State Tournament for the Falcons, just graduated from LMU and was named the West Coast Conference Defensive MVP in 2016.

Another pair of defenders that were essential the team Falcons success last season will continue to be teammates as they head off to play for the Texas-Permian Falcons. Perez was a 2nd Team all-conference selection this season, while Jimenez was a 2nd Team selection his freshman year. Jimenez accounted for a goal and three assists this season, while Canela, finished third on the team with eight goals and 18 points from his forward position. He picked up both goals in the team's 2-1 win over Long Beach City College and will help provide offense for Permian team that posted a 9-7-2 record last year and averaged less than two goals a game.

Limited to just seven games in goal this past season, Perez made the most of it, as he went 6-0-0 with four complete-game shutouts and did not allow a goal all year. He played in 495 minutes and made 24 saves on the year, including a season-high nine stops against Los Angeles Harbor College. The Argos, who went 6-9-0 last season, graduated one of their goalkeepers and Perez will have a strong chance to earn a starting position.

Rivera, who returned to the Falcons after a five-year absence, was impactful as one of the team's most aggressive players from his forward position. He also offered a scoring touch, accounting for four goals, while he led the team in scoring in 2012 with 10 goals. From 2004-10, the Falcon sent 12 players to Kansas Wesleyan, with Rivera the first since then. Last year, the Coyotes went 10-10-0 and lost in the Kansas City Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals.

The Falcons are expected to have three more sophomores sign.