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Sparks soccer standout signs with JC national power
by Dan Eckles
Feb 21, 2014 | 1038 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Dan Eckles - Sparks High senior Ruben Pacheco announced his intentions to play soccer at JC national power Yavapai college during a signing ceremony Thursday afternoon.
Tribune photo by Dan Eckles - Sparks High senior Ruben Pacheco announced his intentions to play soccer at JC national power Yavapai college during a signing ceremony Thursday afternoon.
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Sparks High's Ruben Pacheco was one of the top boys soccer players, in any classification, in the state last fall. Given his talents, it wasn't much of a surprise when college coaches around the West began inquiring about his future.

On Thursday afternoon, Pacheco made his college soccer intentions official. Pacheco signed a letter of intent, during a signing ceremony in the lobby of the Sparks High gymnasium, announcing his plan to play for Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz. The two-year school boasts one of the top junior college men's soccer programs in the nation.

"I got contacted by the coach and he asked if I'd be interested in the program," Pacheco said after signing his letter Thursday. "I saw their record and I was impressed. I like how I fit in there. I had other colleges and coaches interested in me but Yavapai caught my attention and interest."

It's hard to miss out the on the Roughriders' impressive resume. In the program's 26 years of existence, it's been to the junior college national tournament 20 times and won seven national titles, earning a 535-46-24 record in that span.

"The coaches told me I'd fit in up top as a forward," Pacheco said. "That's my natural position. I'm a scorer ... I look at college soccer as another level. I see college as a step forward for me."

Pacheco led Sparks in scoring last year as the Railroaders made another state tournament turn. He was also named DI-A North League MVP and an all-state honoree.

"It's absolutely fun to see the kids achieve their goals," Sparks boys soccer coach Frank Avilla said. "Ruben has a great opportunity. He can get his education while playing a sport he loves. That's what it's all about. The doors are open for Ruben. He just needs to walk through them."

Pacheco said he will leave for school in early August as the Roughriders get going with a preseason program. The SHS senior said he is undecided on a course of study but admitted engineering intrigues him and that may be an early frontrunner.

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