La Grande High School freshman to-be Cristian Miramontes receives a pass during training Wednesday at La Grande Middle School. Miramontes could be selected to the highest level of the Olympic Development Program. (CHERISE KAECHELE/The Observer)
Future Tiger awaits prestigious invite
When La Grande High School freshman-to-be Cristian Miramontes talks about his goals as a soccer player, he makes no secret of the fact that he aims to play professionally one day. While the 14-year-old has a long way to go, all of his coaches believe the central midfielder has what it takes.
“He came to me a year and a half ago after a training session and said he wants to play professionally,” La Grande head coach Jessy Watson said. “That’s definitely a realistic goal for him. As long as he keeps improving and stays on that grind he can definitely do it. He’s getting the opportunities he needs to realize that dream of playing professionally.”
Miramontes recently received a major opportunity to hone his craft after attending Olympic Development Program camps in Idaho, California and most recently at the invite-only Portland regional camp. After impressing coaches in the 14-year-old age group, the Mexico-born Miramontes was named as a preliminary selection as one of the 26 players being considered to represent the West Coast at an upcoming ODP national camp. With the date of the camp yet to be determined, Miramontes is currently waiting to hear if he is one of the 18 players that made the final cut to represent the West Coast squad.
Though he loves to dribble, Miramontes said he improved his game in Sacramento, Calif., because the defenders reacted so quickly that he could never take more than two dribbles at a time.
“I really like to dribble and juke out opponents,” Miramontes said. “When I played in California, it was all pass and go. I always had to play one or two touches then make a pass. I liked it because it made me think more before I got the ball.”
Miramontes initially impressed the coaches in the Idaho camp, but was forced to play goalie in Sacramento after suffering a leg bruise that hindered his running ability. La Grande High School Soccer coach Wade Wright believes the injury may have been the reason Miramontes was a late selection for the regional camp in Portland that took place July 5th. Though he said he was surprised to see Miramontes get selected for the highest level of ODP for his age group, Wright said his talent and work ethic justified his selection. If Miramontes makes the final cut, he will play in the ODP national tournament in Florida during a date yet to be announced this fall.
“The speed of his decision making is very good,” Wright said “He’s got some things to work on, but he sees the game very well going forward. He is a very creative player and a knack to do things that are unexpected. You never know what he’s going to do, so he keeps the opponents guessing.”
For the full story, see Friday's issue of The Observer