Birmingham’s Noel Ortega leads 2019 Daily News All-Area boys soccer team

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The Daily News All-Area boys soccer team:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Noel Ortega, Birmingham, Sr.

Noel Ortega came back to play high school soccer at Birmingham for one thing.

“When I left the academy, I knew I had to win a ring,” Ortega said.

After spending his junior season playing in the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy, which doesn’t allow its players to participate in high school soccer, Ortega added 23 goals and 13 assists to a Birmingham team that won the 2019 L.A. City Section Division I championship with a 3-0 victory over San Fernando.

“It was the goal the whole season: Win a City title,” said Ortega.

A few days after winning the City title, the Patriots took down Mater Dei 5-2 in the regional playoffs. Ortega scored three goals.

“It’s always fun to take down powerhouse schools,” he said.

Birmingham High School soccer player Noel Ortega. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Birmingham High School soccer player Noel Ortega. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Birmingham High School soccer player Noel Ortega. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Birmingham High School soccer player Noel Ortega. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Ortega stands about 5-foot-6 and weighs about 130 pounds, but he’s not known for his strength or power. He molds his game after Chelsea Football Club superstar Eden Hazard, a speed demon with unbelievable flair. Ortega’s crafty footwork and precise ball placement make him a nightmare for opposing teams.

“My playing style is the way I express myself,” he said.

Despite coming from an overall much higher level of soccer, he acknowledged the biggest difference between academy soccer and varsity-level soccer.

“The academy game is much more technical. In high school, especially in the West Valley League, it’s much more physical,” said Ortega.

The soccer field isn’t the only thing Ortega dominates. He’s extraordinary in the classroom, which has anchored his next endeavor: playing collegiate soccer in the Ivy League at Cornell University.

“That’s a big accomplishment for me, I know my family is proud,” he said.

Ortega’s parents never completed school past the seventh grade, and his older sister, Lupita, a great student at Reseda High, now attends CSUN and studies psychology.

“My sister showed me how to take pride in the classroom. She kind of showed me the way,” said Ortega.

“My mom is always the loudest at the games, though. She’s not hard to find,” Ortega added with …read more

Source:: Dailynews – News

      

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