All in the family

BOYS’ SOCCER /// Moorpark Musketeers


UP IN THE AIR—Moorpark sophomore goalie Leon Chavez catches the ball against Camarillo. Chavez is a three-sport star who also excels at football and baseball with the Musketeers.

UP IN THE AIR—Moorpark sophomore goalie Leon Chavez catches the ball against Camarillo. Chavez is a three-sport star who also excels at football and baseball with the Musketeers.

. Sports legacy continues at Moorpark with children of former Musketeer athletes

Soccer is a family affair at Moorpark High.

Javier “Javi” Castro, a senior captain for the Musketeer boys’ soccer team, is one of the most talented midfielders in Acorn country. His father, Juan Castro, was a striker for Moorpark’s 1994 CIF-Southern Section Division V championship squad, the only Moorpark boys’ side to secure a CIF crown.

Leon Chavez, a sophomore goalkeeper, is continuing a family legacy, too. His father, Steven, played soccer with the Musketeers before graduating in 1998.

Joshua Hernandez, a senior captain and forward/defensive back, looks up to his dad, also Joshua, a 1997 grad who kicked for the school’s football squad, and his older sisters Kayla and Kylie, who played soccer and volleyball, respectively, for the green and gold.

Joshua Hernandez is proud to represent his hometown.

“I’ve been living in Moorpark all my life. My dad grew up in Moorpark. He played sports as well,” Hernandez said. “Moorpark is such a small town compared to other towns like Oxnard or Simi. To play for Moorpark, it’s such a special community. Having great parents, family and friends come watch us, it’s truly special to represent the green and gold and what Moorpark is all about. It’s a family. It means a lot to finish out my last year and represent Moorpark.”

IN CONTROL—Javier “Javi” Castro, a senior captain and midfielder for Moorpark High’s boys’ soccer team, dribbles the ball against Camarillo on Jan. 18 on the road. Camarillo won the match, 4-3. Photos by JOSEPH A. GARCIA/Acorn Newspapers

IN CONTROL—Javier “Javi” Castro, a senior captain and midfielder for Moorpark High’s boys’ soccer team, dribbles the ball against Camarillo on Jan. 18 on the road. Camarillo won the match, 4-3. Photos by JOSEPH A. GARCIA/Acorn Newspapers

Kayla Hernandez played on two Moorpark section finalist squads but sat out her senior year of high school in 2017—when the Musketeers captured a CIF banner.

“My sister is bummed she missed out. She told me to play my senior year. Don’t have regrets,” Joshua Hernandez said. “I’m doing it for my family.”

Hernandez, a 3.8 GPA student, spent two years sprinting in track and field, and he also works at Gelson’s in Thousand Oaks on the weekends. Growing up, he watched “Forensic Files” with his grandmother Elizabeth, and he said that experience inspired his career aspirations: Hernandez wants to study criminology and eventually work as a crime scene laboratory investigator.

 

 

Javi Castro, an All-Coastal Canyon League standout and three-year varsity veteran, and Chavez, a three-sport standout who also excels at football and baseball, are the only returning starters for the defending league champs. Twelve Musketeers graduated and three others transferred to Birmingham of Van Nuys.

Castro, whose sister Amely played soccer at Moorpark before graduating in 2021, has a sister in eighth grade, Jimena, who plans to roam the pitch for the Musketeers next winter.

“I love this city. I grew up here my entire life,” Castro said.

He said he is considering playing soccer at Oxnard College before taking his talents to a four- year university.

Chavez stays busy throughout the year while sporting a 3.5 GPA. He’s a middle linebacker, kicker and quarterback in football, and he roams the middle infield in baseball. He enjoys spending his free time in the great outdoors by hiking, fishing and running.

BEST FOOT FORWARD—Camarillo’s Jackson Valencia, left, and Moorpark’s Manuel Rosales battle for control of the ball on Wednesday.

BEST FOOT FORWARD—Camarillo’s Jackson Valencia, left, and Moorpark’s Manuel Rosales battle for control of the ball on Wednesday.

The Musketeer said soccer is special in Moorpark.

“It’s just keeping the community up,” Chavez said. “My family’s gone through the program. They said soccer at Moorpark is the best time of their lives from the friendships and brotherhood. To this day, they know people they played with. That’s the type of bond that the program creates.”

The Musketeers will face a Mount Boney climb to secure the league banner this winter. They were 6-6-3 overall, 2-2 in the Coastal Canyon, while Oak Park (9-1, 4-0) surged to first place at press time.

“We have to take every game as a playoff game, as if it’s a league final game,” said Manny Galvez, Moorpark’s eighth-year head coach. “We can’t just say it’s a regular game. Every game is a playoff game right now. That’s the approach we take.”

Jonathan Contreras, a senior who did not play last year, and sophomore Sebastian Alvarado, complement Castro in the midfield.

“Jonathan Contreras is just brilliant on the ball,” Galvez said. “Silvy Alvarado plays years beyond his age. He’s very, very good tactically.”

Juan Magdaleno, a senior striker, has been a pleasant surprise. He’s provided a clutch offensive boost with eight goals in his first nine matches.

Armando Acevedo anchors the defense at center back with help from fellow junior Andrew Vargas, a tall and physical athlete.

“(Acevedo) breaks up plays, and he’s an excellent distributer of the ball,” the coach said.

Brady Conyers, the younger brother of UC Irvine midfielder and former Moorpark star Justin Conyers, is a sophomore defender to watch. Jett Barrett is a promising sophomore forward.

Felipe Quezaela, MikeyAcosta, Calix Navarrete, Max Zamora, Saul Leyva, Chris Furlough, Rooney Chirutha, Manuel Rosales, Leo Zavala, Caesar Gonzales and Matheo Sipaque contribute for Moorpark. Assistant coach Fili Rosales and goalkeeper coach C.J. Walker, a 2020 MHS graduate who protects the woodwork at Cal Poly Pomona, bolster Galvez’s staff.

“We just got to keep working hard,” Castro said. “I think the team is pretty good. We just need to stop making small mistakes. We could actually maybe win league and go far in CIF, hopefully.”

Find sports editor Eliav Appelbaum on Twitter @EliavAppelbaum.