Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Big season a fine farewell for Pacheco with Hawks
by Greg Oshust
goshust@mdjonline.com
June 04, 2010 12:00 AM | 2224 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Juan Pacheco made quite an impact last year in his first season at Hillgrove, scoring 24 goals and dishing out 14 assists to lead the Hawks to the Class AAAA state semifinals.

The 2010 season was more of the same, and then some, as the senior Lipscomb signee finished his high school career with 40 goals and 12 assists to lead Hillgrove back to the state playoffs.

As a result, Pacheco is the 2010 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Boys Soccer Player of the Year, winning the honor for the second straight season.

"It's a real honor," Pacheco said. "Knowing that I was selected by the coaches is an honor. I couldn't have played as well as I did and scored as many goals without the help of my teammates."

This year was an even more dominant performance for Pacheco than in 2009. He scored three goals or more in nine of Hillgrove's 20 games, including a season-high four in wins over North Cobb, Paulding County and Hiram.

Pacheco's offensive firepower propelled Hillgrove to a 15-3-2 record. The Hawks lost in the second round of the state playoffs to eventual runner-up McIntosh, the same team that beat Hillgrove in the state semifinals a year earlier.

Reaching the 40-goal plateau wasn't something Pacheco was specificially striving for, but he said he was proud of his achievement.

"I just aim to the best level that I can," Pacheco said. "When I got to 20 goals around the midway point of the season, I thought I had a chance of getting 40. My teammates helped set me up for some great scoring opportunites, so I couldn't have done it without them."

In addition to improving his scoring skills, Pacheco, a two-year team captain, said he also improved his leadership skills.

"I definitely improved my finishing (on scoring opportunities), and I worked on being a better leader on the field," Pacheco said.

Pacheco will now continue his soccer career on the college level at Lipscomb, a Nashville, Tenn.-based Division I school in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Pacheco, who spent his first two years at Kennesaw Mountain, said he enjoyed his two years playing under coach Brian Gochoel at Hillgrove.

"It was a great two years," Pacheco said. "Coach Gochoel is an amazing coach, and he had injected so much energy and enthusiasm into the program. Playing at Hillgrove has made me a better player and a better person."
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