Alumni IMSoccer News
Top NASL Rookies So Far in 2012
Las Vegas Review-Journal
2012 July 24
tags: Austen King, Kevin Venegas, Mark Anderson, Migual Ibarra, NASL, Orlando Esteban Bayona
by Brian Quarstad
A little past the midway point of the season, IMS gives you a list of the top rookies in the league to keep your eye on. Not only for possible NASL Rookie of the Year honors but as top prospects to move on to MLS or other leagues above Division II.
Mark (Sparky) Anderson # 1) Mark Anderson (Fort Lauderdale Strikers)
Anderson signed with Ft. Lauderdale in mid March after showing well in the NASL Combine. An Englishman from Durham, England, he played college in the States at Division II side Barry University between 2008 and 2010. In three seasons he scored a total of 38 goals and racked up 28 assists in 53 appearances. Anderson was named 2011 Daktronics DII National Soccer Player of the Year and 2011 Capital One Academic All-America of the Year for DII men’s soccer.
Anderson scored in his professional debut against the RailHawks and has only gotten stronger as the season has progressed. He is scoring at a rate of 1 goal every 128 minutes played and if he continues at this rate will also be be a candidate for MVP. He is currently 2nd in the league for goals with 9 and has specialized in long range hits and set pieces, many being highlight-reel type shots, like the goal he scored from the half-way line in a US Open Cup match against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The rookie forward has been a highlight himself in a somewhat average season so far for the Strikers.
Miguel Ibarra #2) Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota Stars FC)
Don’t look to the NASL statistics to see why Ibarra is on this list. He has only 2 goals and 1 assist so far in 2012. But the 5’7″, 150 lb, 22-year-old has been a driving force in Minnesota’s success this season.
Drafted by the Portland Timbers in the second round of the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft (27th overall), he didn’t stick and the Timbers released him. But those who saw him play in his time with UC Irvine knew he was the real deal.
Stars coach Manny Lagos was looking for speed at the wings in the offseason and thought he may have lost out until he signed Ibarra. He was named the Brit’s Pub/IMSoccer News Minnesota Stars FC Man of the Match in his very first game as a pro in front of over 8,000 at the Metrodome and ran circles around the Carolina RailHawks defense. Stars fans hoped it wasn’t an anomaly and they haven’t been disappointed.
Ibarra’s blazing speed at the outside right midfield position has allowed him to start nearly ever game as a rookie, logging in 1,234 minutes. Lagos has trusted the young midfielder to float from left to right and generally cause havoc on opposing teams’ defense. Ibarra is often seen leading the pace for the Stars, dribbling directly at teams’ defense and has been involved with many a Stars goal by his skill and worth ethic which goes from the first to the ninetieth minute.
Orlando Esteban Bayona #3) Orlando Esteban Bayona (San Antonio Scorpions)
Yes, 28 years of age is a little old to be called a rookie, but this is Bayona’s first gig as a pro.
He spent 2009-11 playing for the USL PDL Laredo Heat where he scored 28 goals in 39 appearances. He was the Heat’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2010 and in 2011 and he was one of the top 3 goal scorers in PDL.
The 6′ forward from Bogota, Colombia was brought in by Scorpions head coach Tim Hankinson to give support to proven goal scoring partner, Pablo Campos. Bayona wasn’t even on the bench the first game of the season and although he made cameo appearances, didn’t start until the 8th game of the season which was on May 27th. Since that time he has started in 5 more games, scoring 4 times and assisting on 4 more in only 795 minutes played. It seems Hankinson has found Campos strike partner in Bayona.
Other players of mention: Kevin Venegas (Minnesota Stars FC)
Left outside midfielder who filled in admirably for Lucas Rodriquez after his hernia surgery. Venegas has one goal and one assist in 938 minutes played and his solo effort on May 12th, went viral on YouTube. The California State Fullerton grad plays both sides of the ball and crosses handsomely. Austen King (Carolina RailHawks)
A centerback, King has logged in a lot of minutes for a rookie, especially considering he is playing for a very demanding Colin Clarke. King has one goal to
Western Continues to Progress
By Tristan Arid
Las Vegas Review-Journal
April 5, 2012
Tommy Krier surprised his peers when he applied to become Western’s baseball coach going into the 2010 season.
As an assistant at Cimarron-Memorial, Krier helped the Spartans win the 2009 Sunset Region title and reach the Class, 4A state finals. He was headed to a Warriors program that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2003 and has spent the past few years as a Southwest League doormat.
“We lost to Gorman at state, and then I took over Western. Everyone thought I was nuts,” Krier said. “I just wanted to get a head start on head coaching, so I thought this was an opportunity. And I tell these kids the same thing – this is a great opportunity here at Western.”
The Warriors have been listening to their third-year coach.
Western was eliminated from the Blazer Spring Bash tournament Wednesday with an 11-1 loss to San Fernando (Calif.) in the semifinals of the Las Vegas High Championship Bracket.
Western wanted more than a 2-2 record and a semifinal exit from the tournament, but it wasn’t long ago that the Warriors reaching the semifinals of any tournament seemed almost absurd.
Western )5-13) has already equaled its win total from last year. The Warriors, who were a combined 12-80 from 2008 to 2011, also stunned then-No. 2 Sierra Vista 3-2 on March 26.
It was fitting that Josh Yocum, who Krier called the “heart and soul” of his program, was at the center of that win. The junior left-hander pitched a five-hitter and hit an RBI double to break a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning for the Warriors’ biggest victory in years.
“This is the best team that we’ve had,” said Yocum, who was 1-for-3against San Fernando. “All these kids have a lot of heart. We just need to work.”
The Western High School baseball team warms up during practice at Western High School on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.
By Ray Brewer (contact)
Saturday, March 31, 2012 | 2 a.m.
When Tommy Krier, the Western High School baseball coach, returned home Monday night after a game, his wife greeted him with the usual question: “Did you win?” His team seldom tasted victory.
Yeah, 3-2,” the soft-spoken Krier nonchalantly responded.
And it took a few moments for it to sink in with his wife how huge that was: Her husband’s rag-tag Warriors were playing Sierra Vista that night.
Sierra Vista: the team ranked No. 2 in the local coaches’ poll. Sierra Vista: the team that had beaten Western in their last four games by a combined score of 48-3.
So, for Western — a school in a low-income neighborhood with an enrollment of mostly Hispanic students that struggles in all sports — to knock off a state-championship-contending team from an upscale neighborhood? It was one of the biggest upsets in years on the local prep circuit.
Western has just 16 baseball players, not even enough to field a junior varsity team. Some of them struggle to buy basic equipment, and several had never played baseball until they joined the team in 2010, when Krier became the fourth head coach in four years.
Sierra Vista, on the other hand, had a player selected in the first round of last year’s professional draft. It would be a perennial state power if it weren’t playing in the same league as nationally ranked Bishop Gorman. It has so many players that it fielded three teams in the summer American Legion league. The school even occasionally cracks the national rankings.
But still, the coach brushed off the victory.
“It was just one game,” he told his wife, Megan. “We play again Wednesday.”
Even his players after the game took the victory in stride. They didn’t storm the pitcher’s mound — a celebration to which they were entitled. Instead, they politely got in line and congratulated the Sierra Vista players on a good game.
That made the coach proud.
“I was hoping the kids didn’t storm the field because I didn’t want to show up Sierra Vista,” he said. “It was just one game.”
But by the time the players reached the locker room, the scene was different — “like a bunch of kids at Disneyland or like on Christmas,” senior outfielder Jesus Serrano said.
As word of the upset quickly spread throughout the area’s baseball community, Krier’s cellphone was flooded with messages from other coaches praising his efforts. The following morning, the players were acknowledged during the school’s morning announcements and put up as an example to other students that good things are happening at the school.
At Western, the win was more than an athletic achievement. The school is one of three low-performing high schools in Clark County to receive federal grant money to improve student achievement and, by extension, build morale.
Winning a baseball game they shouldn’t have helps reaffirm everything Principal Neddy Alvarez and her staff have told students since they arrived for the first day of school in August — you are winners, in and out of the classroom.
“It was huge for these kids to be thought of positively,” Krier said. “I know we are in the press for some negative stuff, but that’s not how it is here. There are a lot of good kids with good stories to tell.”
Although the victory is something the team will cherish for years, Krier doesn’t want it to define the season. They have won just three games this spring, but it’s a small improvement over an 8-41 record the past two years combined, and players are showing signs of becoming a competitive team on a daily basis.
So the next day, the players rolled up their sleeves and got back to work, with Krier correcting a base-running flaw he noticed during the win — the footwork of properly rounding third base. That was understandable; these kids don’t advance that far very often.
“The sad thing is I knew more about baseball than most of the (players) my husband coached that first season,” Megan Krier said.
Tommy Krier was an assistant coach at Cimarron-Memorial in 2009 when the Spartans upset Gorman in the Sunset Regional title game. He dreamed of running his own program. But when he learned that Western needed a coach, he hesitated. The coach over there, he knew, almost has to beg for players to join the team.
He asked Megan for advice.
“She said, ‘Those kids deserve to have a good coach just like kids at any other school,’ ” he said.
Krier got the baseball coaching job. In fact, he was the only person to apply for it. He also was assigned to the counseling department to help students get on track to graduate, and fell in love with the school’s history and tradition. He organized a fundraising effort to order uniforms resembling those from Western’s state title teams in the 1960s and designed a website for the program that pays homage to the great traditions of past seasons.
But returning to those glory days would be an uphill battle. Krier couldn’t even land an assistant coach for his first two seasons. What he was succeeding in, however, was winning players’ confidence with his dedication and consistency.
And it seems to be paying off this season.
“I had a good feeling we were going to win because my defense was backing me up and we were hitting the ball good,” said Warriors pitcher Joshua Yocum, who went the distance against Sierra Vista. (Here’s a kid who can play college ball, Krier said.)
So if there’s a little strut in his team’s stride this season, that’s OK. At practice, some players wear Western baseball pants that Krier found stored away and that go back to the ’80s or ’90s, because those were good years. The players are giving shout-outs to one another for good defense and stronger hitting. They’re not moping so much about their chronically unmanicured playing field. They’re coping with it with a growing level of class and confidence.
Krier, a quiet sort, lets his star pitcher, Yocum, do the talking:
“Sierra Vista, they just weren’t into the game as much as we were. They came in here thinking they would blow past us like they always do. But we came ready to win and ready to play hard. The way I see it, it doesn’t matter how good your facility is or how many extras your team has. What matters is your heart and how much you love the game. And we have a lot of players who are going to fight each time they put that jersey on.”