Taft College Cougars Men's Soccer
Taft College Cougars Men's Soccer

With a remarkable returning class, Taft College Men`s Soccer program is looking to carry on in the same fashion. With experience under the belt, the coaches are looking to bring in freshmen from Kern County to compliment their talents.

Several soccer players have continued on to universities such as UNLV, UCI, CSULA, and CSUB. The coaching staffs` efforts are aimed toward those athletes who wish to continue both their athletic and academic careers at the university level. The men's soccer program is designed for those student athletes who believe that hard work and dedication is a means to success.

Former Taft College Soccer Star Miguel Ibarra Has Had a Good Month
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 28, 2014

First he was called up to play for the U.S. National Team in friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras – taking a break from playing professional soccer for Minnesota United FC of the North American Soccer League.

That sparked a highlight video showcasing his talent that went viral, garnering nearly 25,000 views in one month.

“We always knew he had that kind of talent,” said Cougar coach Angelo Cutrona.  “But coming from a junior college he didn’t get the credit he deserved.  He’s such a great kid. 

We couldn’t be happier for him.

“To be called up to the national team is a tremendous accomplishment.  The talent was there.  He just needed an opportunity to show what he can do.”

Nicknamed Batman (the YouTube video is titled “Batman Can Fly”), Ibarra played at TC in 2008-9, earning All-Central Valley Conference honors that included conference MVP his sophomore season.

He transferred to UC Irvine, where he was the Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year and All-Big West.

From there, he was drafted in the second round of the Major League Soccer’s supplemental draft (27th overall) by the Portland Timbers but did not sign a contract.

In March of 2012 the 5-foot-7, 145-pound midfielder signed with Minnesota United FC of the newly-formed NASL and made his debut on April 8 against the Carolina Rail-Hawks. 

Ibarra was the first U.S. second division player to be called up by the national team since 2005.

He earned his first cap in the game against Honduras on Oct. 14, a memory he’ll cherish.

He’ll also remember getting his first look at his No. 9 jersey hanging in his locker and realizing it was next to the No. 10 of the legendary Landon Donavon – and that Donavon was standing there too.

They talked and Ibarra said Donovan, who played his last game in a U.S. national team jersey in the friendly against Ecuador, encouraged him to keep improving.

The game against Honduras was Ibarra’s first with the national team.

After his debut as a U.S. national team player, Ibarra returned to help his NASL team.  So far this season he has scored eight goals and added five assists (best on the team).

Minnesota is leading the 10-team league with a 10-3-4 record.

Ibarra was featured last week in an article on Top Drawer Soccer.com website.

“After nearly a decade of being overlooked for being too small or too far off the radar, both literally and figuratively,” wrote Will Parchman, “the 24-year-old Ibarra is finally planting his flag in the ground.”

Noting his numbers playing in Minnesota, Parchman observed: “Not bad for a kid who was criticized for his slight build for nearly his entire career.”

He came to Taft on advice of friends from his Lancaster high school days who played for the Cougars.  

Cougar Men's Soccer Still Winning Despite Missed Scoring Opportunities
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 17, 2014

Taft College’s men’s soccer team continues to struggle finishing scoring opportunities.

The good thing is the team continues to win despite missing chances to score.

It happened again Tuesday when the No. 10 nationally ranked Cougars defeated No. 20 Modesto Junior College 3-1 on the home field to keep TC the only undefeated team in the state.

They’ll try to keep it going today when they take on San Joaquin Delta College (8-4-4) on the University of Pacific campus in Stockton.

The Cougars are 12-0-2 and ranked No. 1 in the state on both the power rankings and the sports information directors’ poll.  They were ranked as high as fourth in the national coaches’ poll.

“We didn’t play particularly well,” head coach Angelo Cutrona said after the Modesto win.  “We still continue to create goal scoring opportunities.  We missed a ton of them.  It’s a combination of missing opportunities on offense and making silly mistakes on defense.”

That happened against Modesto. The Cougars had eight shots on goal.

Three found the net and five shots were rejected by Pirate goalkeeper Luis Garcia.  A defensive lapse led to Modesto’s lone goal in the 40th minute after the Cougars struck early for a 2-0 lead.

But the defensive play of the game came in the 52nd minute when Cougar keeper JD Cisneros blocked a shot with TC clinging to a 2-1 lead.

“That was huge,” Cutrona said.  “That’s what great goalies do.  A lot of the time they’re not very busy, but they need to be ready all the time.  It was very nice to watch him make that play.”

The sophomore from Ridgeview High in Bakersfield left his feet as he dove to his left and knocked the ball away with both fists.

The Cougars had a couple of chances but were either offside or misfired.

That changed in the 74th minute when Modesto was awarded a corner kick.

Ramon Chavez went high to head the ball out to midfielder Oscar Torres who took the ball quickly down the left sideline.

Just past midfield he shot a pass to Edgar Rodriguez who quickly got it to Ramiro Barraza to rifle into the left side of the net.

“That was a fantastic center attack,” Cutrona said.

Rodriguez scored the first goal in the fourth minute off a pass from Enrique Garcia.

Trevon Demison made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute when he scored after taking a pass from Rodriguez.

Stingy Defense Helps Cougar Men Stay Unbeaten
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 10, 2014

After his Taft College men’s soccer team finished off a 2-0 win over visiting Cosumnes River College on Friday, head coach Angelo Cutrona was a little disappointed.

“We always had possession of the ball, but our passing was not as good and we missed a ton of opportunities,” he said.  “So after the game I didn’t feel good.”

But after taking a gander at the video he had a change of heart.

“They essentially had only two shots,” Cutrona said, referring to CRC’s threat to the Cougar goal.  “One of them went out of bounds and (goalie) JD Cisneros easily blocked the other.  Other than that they got absolutely nothing.  Those numbers are phenomenal.”

He pointed to another statistic that has him smiling.

“In the last five games we’ve let in just one goal and that was on a penalty kick,” he said.
Oscar Torres scored the first Cougar goal on a free kick.

“He bent it up over the keeper.  The keeper got a hand on it but the shot went behind him,” Cutrona said.

The Cougars got a second goal to go up by two at the half when Ramiro Barraza scored.

After he won the ball near midfield there was a pass before Edgar Rodriguez controlled the ball and shot a pass Barraza ran to and put away.

While Cisneros was having an easy day in goal thanks to TC’s ball control, his counterpart, Juan Bonilla, was busy with nine saves.

The win keeps the No. 1 Cougars unbeaten at 11-0-2 going into this afternoon’s home action against Modesto Junior College.

It marks the third of four matchups with members of the Big-8 Conference.  The finale will be Friday in Stockton when the Cougars take on San Joaquin Delta.

After that, it’s four consecutive home games, beginning with San Bernardino Valley a week from today.

Congratulations to one of our former student athletes, Miguel Ibarra who has been called up to the US National Team.

Miguel Ibarra, former Taft College men’s soccer player from 2008-2009, transferred to UCI and is now playing professionally for Minnesota United FC. He was called up to the US national team and made the roster for the game vs Ecuador and Honduras.

Check out the link below:
Click Here

Cougars Battle No. 2 Mt. SAC to Scoreless Tie
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 24, 2014

WALNUT – They say a tie is like kissing your sister, but after the Taft College men’s soccer team battled the No. 2 team in the nation to a scoreless standoff here Tuesday night it felt more like a loss.

That was the analysis of Cougar head coach Angelo Cutrona, whose team went into that match ranked No. 6 in the nation.

“I thought we outplayed them,” he said.  “We had them on their heels most of the game.  We had some good shots on goal and felt we should have won.  But that’s what this game does to you.”

He said it was a classic matchup of two nationally ranked teams.

“Two teams played their tactical systems.  It was a good heads-up battle.  It had the feel of a good Division I game.  It’s what this competitive level is.  It was a great experience four our guys.”

Despite missing a chance to beat a team that won four state championships in a row from 2009-2012 before losing to upstart Hartnell in last year’s title match, Cutrona said the Cougars can use the experience as a building block.

“All that’s going to do is motivate our guys,” he said.  “We would like to play them again but that won’t happen unless we both make it to the Final Four.”

The last time the Cougars were in that elite group two seasons back it was Mt. SAC that spoiled a shot at the state crown with a 2-1 win.

While the Cougar offense was frustrated Tuesday night the defense kept the Mounties away.

“Our defenders did a great job of sliding and blocking,” Cutrona said.  “They got behind us just once but our defenders swept the ball off the goal line.  That was Mt. SAC’s only real scoring opportunity.”

Now the Cougars must get ready for what promises to be their toughest conference battle yet.

Usually it’s Taft vs. Fresno, but the four-team Central Valley Conference has better balance than at any time in the past decade.

TC opens at West Hills-Lemoore today in the third of five straight road games.

“We’ve played nine games (the Cougars are 8-0-1) and haven’t had a breather,” Cutrona said. 

And, they won’t get one to begin CVC action.

“Our conference is a lot stronger than the Big 8 crossovers,” he said.

Since the CVC has but four teams it plays four matches with the Big 8 Conference. 
TC will play Sacramento teams American River and Cosumnes River along with Modesto and San Joaquin Delta of Stockton.

Heading into CVC action the league looks like this:

Taft is 8-0-1, West Hills-Lemoore 7-1-1 and ranked No. 14 in the nation, Sequoias is 4-1-1 and Fresno surprisingly is 5-4-1, a rare mediocre start.

After opening at Lemoore the Cougars will head to Fresno Oct. 3 to play their archrival, then American River in Sacramento before getting back home for an Oct. 10 skirmish with Cosumnes River.

Cougar Men Hope to Keep it going Against Mt. SAC
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 19, 2014

Taft College faces another crucial test today against a top 10 nationally ranked team when the Cougar men travel to the site of this year’s state championships to take on perennial powerhouse Mt. San Antonio College.

The Cougars know the Mounties will be prepared.

“They have been off for two weeks and scouting us,” said Cougar coach Angelo Cutrona.  “All three of their coaches were at the Cerritos game (last Friday).”

The Cougars are No. 6 in the National Soccer Coaches of America poll and Mt. SAC No. 2.

“We know they have a veteran team,” Cutrona said.  “They currently have 12 academy players on their roster, and they have 12 sophomores.  And, they are really tough to beat on their home field, which will be the site of this year’s Final Four again.”

TC kept its unbeaten streak alive – the Cougars are 8-0 – Friday with a last-minute 2-1 win over No. 8 Cerritos College in Norwalk.

With the game tied in the 90th minute, the Cougars were awarded a corner kick.

Jesus Villalpando, a sophomore midfielder from Shafter High, aimed his kick into the pack of players in front of the Falcon goal.  In the scramble a Cerritos attempted to head the ball away but it instead sailed into the net past Falcon goalie Jaime Sanchez.

That good fortune in the waning moments was justified, Cutrona said, because his team controlled tempo and possession for most of the game.

“I thought that we definitely played better,” he said.  “We had more chances than they did but we had trouble finishing.”

Oscar Torres put the Cougars up 1-0 at 10:25 in when he rifled a direct kick past Sanchez.

“We had two clear opportunities to make it 3-0 in the first half but couldn’t finish,” Cutrona said.  “That inability to score when we had good chances kept them in the game.”

The Falcons came out strong in the second half and got a tying goal from Steve Martinez at 56:51.

“With a first half lead we sat back a little more to protect our lead,” Cutrona said.

Cerritos had a chance to take the lead with a penalty kick in the 77th minute but Lucas Da Silva’s low, line drive shot was blocked by Cougar keeper JD Cisneros, who also saved a rebound shot.  He finished with five saves.

“JD made an excellent PK save,” Cutrona said.  “We thought it was a bogus PK call to begin with.”

The Cougars regained their possession dominance after that scare.

“We kept applying pressure and got two or three chances in the last five minutes but we finally got that last goal on the corner kick.”

The Cougars outshot Cerritos 16-10.

TC Soccer Teams Continue Solid Play; Men Stay Unbeaten
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 17, 2014

Both Taft College soccer teams continue to perform well during the non-conference grind with the Cougar men the only unbeaten and untied team in the state with a 7-0 record.

The seventh notch in the win column came Wednesday at home with a 2-0 victory over Long Beach City College.

On the same day the Cougar women were on the road for an 8-0 whitewash of Cerro Coso College in Ridgecrest that improved TC to 4-1-1.

Today the women’s team hosts East Los Angeles at 1 p.m. while the men head south for a clash with potent Cerritos College.

Sophomore defender Ramon Chavez factored in both goals the Cougar men scored in easing past LBCC.

He scored the first goal, unassisted, in the 44th minute and got the assist when Ramiro Barraza, a sophomore forward from Bakersfield, scored in the 75th minute to ice a satisfying victory over a tough opponent.

For Chavez it was his fourth goal of the season and first assist.

Barraza earned his fifth goal, best on the team and sixth best in the state.

In the women’s team’s romp in the desert, the Cougars spread the wealth.

Leading scorer Celia Rangel turned in a stellar performance with two goals and three assists, Alexia Gonzalez had two goals and an assist, Valeria Garcia scored a goal and chipped in an assist, and Nora Perez and Cristina Salazar had the other goals.
Victoria Escobar, Ariel Manzano and Kathy Rubio contributed assists.

Gonzalez opened the scoring with a goal four minutes into the match but Cerro Coso’s Daisy Zajicek tied it with a goal in the 13th minute.  That was Cerro Coso’s only hurrah as the Cougars scored seven unanswered goals.

TC led 4-1 at the half.

Hannah Tovar and Arielle Stoyanow shared the goalkeeping duties, each playing a half.  Tovar gave up Cerro Coso’s only goal and had a save while Stoyanow recorded three saves.

TC Soccer Splits with SBCC
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 9, 2014

Taft College soccer teams split non-conference matches with visiting Santa Barbara City College on Tuesday.

The women opened the home doubleheader on a positive note by scoring the first goal, but the more physical Vaqueros put four unanswered shots into the net to spoil things for the home team.

The men, however, continued to be impressive in the early going by defeating for the second time their SBCC counterparts, this time by a 3-1 margin.  Taft won 4-1 at Santa Barbara on Aug. 29.

Cougar Soccer Teams Host Santa Barbara Tuesday
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 8, 2014

Both Taft College soccer teams hope to continue their solid non-conference play Tuesday when they roll out the carpet for their counterparts from Santa Barbara City College.

The women’s team (2-0-1) will christen things with a 1 p.m. kickoff on the Taft High soccer field at Tenth and San Emidio streets.  The men’s match will follow.

The Cougars tuned up for today’s doubleheader with matches last Friday.

The women scored a late goal to earn a 2-2 tie with Long Beach City College in the Cougars’ home opener while the men improved to 4-0 with a 2-1 win over Las Positas College in Livermore – a victory that avenged a penalty-kick loss that eliminated TC from last year’s playoffs.

Sophomore midfielder Celia Rangel scored both goals for the Cougar women – the first without an assist in the 38th minute and the second in the 50th minute with a pass from Nora Perez.

Rangel’s goals overcame a 2-0 first-half Long Beach lead.

Cougar goalkeeper Arielle Stoyanow had seven saves.

Long Beach had 9 shots on goal, the Cougars 8.

Men unbeaten
Sophomore midfielder Ramiro Barraza scored both goals in the win over Las Positas on assists from Trevon Demison and Edgar Rodriguez respectively.

Barraza’s goals gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead before Las Positas countered with a goal from Anthony Aguilar in the 38th minute, but there was no scoring the rest of the way.


Directions to Taft Union High School Soccer Field from Southern California:

  • Take I-5 North
  • Merge on I-5 North
  • Take the 166 exit towards Maricopa/Taft
  • Turn left on 166
  • Turn right on California Street (Hwy 33)
  • After about 6 miles, take the left to stay on hwy 33
  • Turn right on 10th Street (light)
  • Go about a block and a half and the field is on your left behind Albertson's

  • Link to College : Area Maps