San Jose’s Angel Heredia has been a key player in the Quakes Academy program since he burst on the scene in March 2011 – one more step on the way to achieving his goal of turning pro.
“It’s something I’ve been working for all my life; all the pain, sweat, and sacrifices that I’ve made is only the beginning,” said Heredia. “I’m trying to improve everyday to help myself not only become a better soccer player, but a better person as well.
“Playing with the Quakes has meant a lot to me; it really opened my eyes to the high level of competition we have in the area and around the country,” he said.
Heredia has not only played with the best competition in his age group nationally, but also around the world.
In 2011, Heredia was named to the U.S. U17 Residency Program and played matches in Spain and France. “It is something that I’m never going to forget,” he said. “We played against some of the top soccer countries in the world, including France, Mexico and Holland.”
Heredia not only played, but he captained the squad for two of the matches and also scored a goal in the match against Spain. “It was unbelievable,” he said of that experience, “and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been able to play overseas.”
It was on this trip that Heredia joined forces with the man who has had the biggest influence to date on his game, former U.S. U17 Men’s National Team coach Wilmer Cabrera. “It was difficult leaving home but he made the transition much smoother,” Heredia said. “On and off the field, he has taught me so much. He treated us like professionals and not 15- and 16-year-old kids. He really opened my eyes and showed me how to live the soccer lifestyle, lessons that will help me pursue my career further.”
Experiences like these have made Heredia into a reliable cornerstone for the Academy to build upon and around. Normally a defensive midfielder, Heredia prides himself on being a facilitator and dictating the flow of the game. “I love having the ball on my feet.,” he said. “I like to make my teammates happy, so I’m always looking to get assists, but when the opportunity comes to get a goal, I’ll take full advantage of it.”
Quakes Media Relations Manager Frank Stranzl said of Heredia, “Bringing a player like Angel back into the fold could be great for our Academy squad,” and Heredia has confirmed that he will, in fact, return to the Academy next season.
Heredia has started 18 matches in his Quakes Academy career and was a key in this year’s playoff team. When reflecting on the matches in Dallas recently, he spoke like a seasoned veteran, saying, “It was a great accomplishment for the organization to make the playoffs for the first time since the Academy started. We were all very excited to head down there and try to make the most of our opportunity. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the results we were looking for, but it was a great learning experience for my teammates and I.”
The San Jose native is a rising star in both the local and national soccer communities and certainly has a bright future ahead of him. Still only 17 years old, Heredia has his sights set on a professional career and is determined to achieve his goals. Whether it be as a member of the Quakes first team or somewhere else around the world, Heredia will be a mainstay on the soccer scene for years to come.
- Richter Media