DRAPER — Juan Diego Catholic High School celebrated as six seniors signed letters of intent March 19, to play collegiate soccer next fall at prestigious colleges and universities throughout the nation. The six soccer players are Ryan Beck, Kyle Beck, Angel Enriquez, Dallas Hollbeck, Damian Malouf, and Christopher "C. T." Sullivan.
The Soaring Eagle team won the Class 3A Region Championship in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Their record so far for this season is six wins and two losses.
"It was a real blessing to inherit the level of talent this team has to offer," said Scott Platz, who is in his first year as the soccer coach. "The talent is not just limited to the senior class. We also have great talent among the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. The season will end May 12, with the State Championship game scheduled to take place at Dixie State College, but that could change depending on the outcome for the schools in southern Utah.
"The team is very talented, which can cause pressure for the players," said Platz. But these guys have good team chemistry and they are all good friends. They have all played club soccer and all of their club coaches have done an excellent job building their skills. Now it is my job to manage them more than anything else."
Platz also teaches honor level Western Civilization and U.S. Government at Juan Diego. He was a graduate of St. Joseph Catholic High School, Ogden.
"This is a dream come true," said Enriquez, who also is a finalist for an international scholarship only awarded to eight students nationwide.
Enriquez has only been in the United States four and a half years. He grew up in Bari Loche, Argentina. When he first arrived, it was difficult. He could not speak English, and was frustrated because he could not communicate. He lives with his aunt and uncle who are now his legal guardians.
Enriquez began playing soccer in the seventh grade when he first arrived in the United States. Platz said Enriquez’ talent as an attacking midfielder has added power to the Juan Diego team. Enriquez received a full ride scholarship to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
"When I first came to Utah, I was just going to live here for one year, but I liked it so I stayed," said Enriquez. "Now I am going on to bigger and better things. I am excited about going to school at St. Lawrence University because the campus is to beautiful."
Enriquez is grateful for his coaches, friends, family, and teachers who helped him learn English and adjust to life in Utah.
"I will never be able to repay them for all they have done for me," he said. "Where I am now is amazing. My parents are excited for me. I talk to them every week either by e-mail, text message, or telephone."
Sullivan has signed to be the varsity goalie at Mount Marty College, a Catholic college in Yankton, S.D. He looked at other schools, but decided to go to Mount Marty because they guaranteed he would start as the varsity goalie. He started playing goalie in club soccer leagues when he was quite young.
Sullivan has been on a variety of Soaring Eagle teams including four years playing varsity soccer, three years as a swimmer serving as team captain for two of those years, and two years on the football team. His career in swimming began as rehabilitation for a football injury.
Sullivan has received a partial soccer scholarship and a partial academic scholarship. He also received a grant because he will graduate from a Catholic high school.
Sullivan wants to go into criminal justice and plans on earning his master’s degree. Following that, he will apply to become an air traffic controller. His grandfather and his uncle were both air traffic controllers, and he wants to follow in their footsteps.
Ryan Beck has received an extensive scholarship to attend St. Michael’s College in Vermont and plans to study pre-law. Beck is an excellent passer. As a starting midfielder, he received All State recognition as a sophomore and junior, breaking the school record in assists for the Juan Diego’s soccer team. Beck was named Sparta 89 Premier "Coach’s Player of the Year" in 2005. His 4.0 grade point average has earned him a place on the National Honor Society and put him in the top 10 percent of his class.
Kyle Beck has signed to play for California State University where he received a scholarship. Last year he was named All State High School First Team in recognition for his high scoring ability. In addition to playing for Juan Diego, he has played on the Nighthawk club team for five years, earning the 2006 U.S. Regional Championship and going on to nationals, as well as the 2007 State Cup Finalist position. He is proud of his "TOPS" soccer camp, which he organized and directed for special needs children.
Dallas Holbeck is a sweeper on the Soaring Eagle team. His job is to cover the space between the fullbacks and the goalkeeper, to stop breakaways, and sweep up the ball or kick long through balls out of bounds so the defense has time to recover.
Holbeck received academic and athletic scholarships to Westminster College, and he plans to study medicine and/or business. He started playing soccer at age 3 with Sparta United, a club team, and became a budding star, but left to play soccer and football for Juan Diego. When he is not on the soccer field, he volunteers at the St. Vincent de Paul Center and the Greek Festival. He took first place in the State Oratorical contest of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Damian Malouf has signed with Westminster College. He would like to study business and aviation, and play forward for their soccer team next fall. He has been a starter on the varsity team since his freshman year at Juan Diego. His participation in the Utah Youth Soccer Association (UYSA) and Nike/Sparta United Soccer Tournaments has earned him numerous state, regional, and national championship trophies. He also was a team finalist at the 2005 Tampa Bay Sun Bowl and Surf Cup. Malouf, who is not shy, enjoys being a part of the TV Production Club at Juan Diego.