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The pillar between the goalposts upon which the Canby boys soccer team relied all season has been honored as the best goalie in the Three Rivers League.
Senior goalkeeper David Villegas this week was named TRL Goalkeeper of the Year for 2021.
This year was the first full year in goal for Villegas, who started his Cougar career in 2019 as the backup kicker for the Canby junior varsity squad. Last year, he split time as goalie and center back for the Cougars.
Despite his relatively limited experience between the pipes, Villegas made an otherworldly 8.1 saves a game for Canby this year. (By way of comparison, the top goaltenders in Division I college soccer are averaging just a hair under 6 saves this year.)
“When I first found out that I was awarded into the first team all league and won Goalkeeper of the Year i was speechless,” Villegas said, ” I’m just truly blessed and grateful.”
Cougar head coach Ryan McCormick brought insight into what makes Villegas such a special keeper.
“David brings the team a lot of confidence for several reasons,” McCormack told the Current. “We know we’re going to be able to attack a little more freely because David is going to keep us in games with his amazing reflexes and technique.”
Villegas’ game of his career came against West Linn on Sept. 29. Though the Cougars lost 1-5, Villegas tallied an unbelievable 13 saves against a Lions squad that would go on to win the TRL.
Even after leaving that game early due to injury, the senior would receive a standing ovation from both Cougar and Lions fans alike.
“All I heard was the fans cheering me on when I was coming off I was for a loss of words,” said Villegas, “It was incredible.”
Another highlight, of course, was the Cougs’ first win of the season against rival Oregon City — which had come at home one week earlier. Villegas made nine saves in the game — including several in the closing minutes that helped preserve the narrow, 2-1 victory — while showcasing the high energy and passion that made him one of the hearts of this 2021 Cougar squad.
The senior plans to attend a local college after graduating and continue his soccer career.
The final score did not go Canby’s way many times this season, but Villegas’ talent and hard work kept them in many games — and fans and coaches on all sides recognized that.
Junior captain Vladimir Bernal Lopez was also honored this week with an All-Three Rivers League Second Team nod. Bernal Lopez notched four goals and three assists, and provided a whole lot of hard work every game.
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