Sports

McLane High soccer stars sign with UC Merced

McLane High School forward Juan Flores scores an insurance goal against Orosi High in a playoff game.
McLane High School forward Juan Flores scores an insurance goal against Orosi High in a playoff game. jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

It took 15 years for Ramiro Terán to build what is shaping up as a soccer dynasty – two consecutive North Yosemite League titles and a 2016 section championship – at McLane High School.

The latest proof came last Friday morning when star players Juan Flores and Emerson Hernández signed letters of intent to play for UC Merced.

The event, attended by Fresno Unified School board member Christopher De La Cerda and district athletic director Pat Riddlesprigger, was a rarity at the southeast Fresno school. The last athletic signing event at McLane was 15 years ago.

Although McLane failed in its quest to repeat as Division III champion following a semifinal playoff loss to Lindsay High in penalty kicks, the Scots still had an excellent season at 20-3-4.

“This is a high moment in McLane High School athletics,” said Riddlesprigger, who credited Terán for modeling a program that focuses on the academics as much as it does on the sports competition.

Flores and Hernández have been an important component of McLane’s championship soccer story. Both were three-year, varsity starters.

Flores, last year’s Fresno Bee Valley soccer player of the year, scored 70 goals and had 41 assists in his high school career.

Hernández finished with 26 goals and 16 assists.

Both players are two-time NYL all-star selections. McLane went 43-8-5 the last two seasons.

What Terán will proudly tell you, however, is that both excel in the classroom. Flores has a 4.1 GPA and is ranked 24th in a class of 372; Hernández has a 3.7 PGA and ranked 59th.

McLane principal Scott Lamb wondered if the school would ever need a backdrop with the school logo for athletic signings.

Terán, who was called the “premiere coach on campus,” helped make sure of that backdrop.

“This is life-changing when you work hard and have a goal,” said Lamb of the two star players. “I’m proud of you. You put your nose to the grindstone.”

More importantly, said Lamb, is that Flores and Hernández are “somebody’s heroes.”

“These are two young men of great substance,” said Lamb.

Flores, whose parents, María Teresa Ruiz and Eduardo Flores attended the ceremony, said he chose UC Merced because it was close to home. He plans to major in engineering.

Hernández’s parents, Rachel Reyes and Edwin Hernández Sr., also witnessed the signing.

UC Merced head soccer coach Albert Martins has shadowed the McLane soccer team all season. Now, he’ll welcome Flores and Hernández to the Bobcats.

“I have never recruited someone like I have these two,” said Martins, who completed his fourth year on the job. “Hopefully, they’ll have us build a dynasty.”

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