World Cup watchers have no doubt noticed the harsh realities of life as a goalkeeper, where any mistake can have immediate and glaring consequences.
Emmanuel Martinez, Pasco's all-CBBN goalie for the last three seasons, still makes his share of errors.
"I feel like I do. I have a lot to work on. Luckily, I haven't made any that cost us a goal," he said.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs soccer team, they didn't have to worry about "Manny" making mistakes with the game on the line. In fact, the bigger the game, the bigger he played, a trait that helped earn the 5-foot-6 senior the Herald's boys soccer all-area MVP.
"He's been consistent for four years and he got better through hard work," said Pasco coach Matt Potter. "The thing that stands out is everybody knew what they were going to get out of him every day in training, and they knew he was going to make at least a couple big saves in each game."
The four-year starter may have reserved his best performance for his final prep season, anchoring a team that graduated eight all-league players and lost a few more to Chiawana's new program. Martinez led the league with six regular-season shutouts and added three more in the playoffs, finishing with a 0.57 goals against average.
He led the league in shutouts for the third straight season after earning the starting spot as a freshman.
"I think 95 percent of that is my defense. I credit them for helping me get (MVP)," said Martinez, who is already in training to play with Walla Walla Community College next season. "Knowing I had a strong defense kept my confidence up."
After winning the 4A state title as a freshman, Martinez had high hopes of getting another championship ring over the next three seasons. Pasco reached the state tournament each year but fell short of its goal of another state title.
But Martinez is proud of the progress the Bulldogs made this season.
"The guys were doing all they could to make it (to the 4A state quarterfinals). We did better than expected," he said. "The realization is just setting in knowing it's time to move on."
Arthur de Victoria earned Herald coach of the year honors after leading Wahluke to its fourth state title since 2000. But de Victoria, who also coaches the Warriors girls program in the fall, said the honor is a direct reflection of an outstanding group of players.
"They're the ones who are playing," he said. "If we have a chance to impact kids in a positive way, then to me that's a bigger deal. ... You try to make it as good as you can for those kids, and they'll take you along for the ride."
Joining Martinez as repeat first-team all-area selections are Southridge midfielder Jarad Brisbin and Othello forward B.G. Guzman.
Rounding out the first team are F Richard Renteria, MF Martin Ramirez and D Lucas Cash of Pasco; MF Mike Chavez and D Merced Rodriguez of Kennewick; MF Devin Petersen of Moses Lake; D Luis Rivera of Wahluke; D Juan Rojero of Walla Walla; F Nick Wood of Richland; and F Jake Zoulek of Southridge.
*Jack Millikin; 582-1406; email@example.com