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Above: Ruiz neutralizes Jeff Cosgriff of S.I.

Ruiz goes on defensive 1/16

They say that behind every top team, there is a good defense.  A year removed from a WCAL league championship, the Valley Christian boys varsity soccer team had some holes to fill.  With the graduation of 6 seniors in ’04, including sweeper and captain Chris Hansen, the holes started in the defense. Enter Garrett Ruiz.

Ruiz was elected captain, almost unanimously, by his teammates at the season’s first meeting. The leadership gap left by Chris Hansen and Jimmy Coggan was a big one. The Warriors needed somebody to carry the torch.

“In practice and in games, Garrett Ruiz is our example. He works hard 100% of the time and it rubs off on others,” said VC assistant coach John Basanese.

Ryan Corry, the team’s standout sweeper added to that. “Garrett is a great guy on and off the field.  He always works hard, which is why he truly deserves the captains leadership position. On the field you’ll never see him quit.  He astonishes me marking up on the best forward the other team has.”

As a sophomore, Garrett was immediately thrust into the starting lineup…in some ways to his own surprise. “I remember when we met with Garrett and his parents at their house and they told us he was surprised he made the team as a sophomore.  Aleks and I looked at each other and smiled because we knew our plans were to start him.” Basanese said.

Garrett impressed his sophomore year, while marking some of the sections best players including Matt Hatzke (now at SCU), and Jay Singh (National player for Serra HS).

In his Junior season, Ruiz was instrumental in helping the Warriors to a school first W.C.A.L. Championship. The team had shutout after shutout with him back there. Again, marking the CCS’s best players.

Flash forward to present.

As it stands now, the Warriors are 3-4-5 overall and 3-2-3 in league…second place. What once was thought to be impending disaster, the VC defense has surrendered the least goals in the league! Garrett has taken his contributions to a new level absolutely shutting down opposing forward to the point that they become frustrated and get removed from the game.  

Valley Christian head coach Aleks Vranicic had this to say. “In his senior year as a captain, Ruiz has distinguished himself as the best defensive player in the WCAL. There has been no offensive player that has been a match for Garrett Ruiz!” 

Fellow captain Cole Bales gave his input on Ruiz as well. “Garrett stands alone as the top defender in WCAL and probably CCS as well. He consistently proves that he can frustrate any offensive player, even at the highest level. Truly a top notch player!” 

A marking back, Garrett has won the acclaim of many WCAL coaches and bystanders as well. Not the least of them, US National Team and MLS star goalkeeper Joe Cannon. After watching the game vs. Bellarmine Joe commented, "That kid is fast, clearly the best player on the field today.  I was very impressed." 

In this past Saturday’s win against St. Ignatius, Ruiz was tasked with marking Jeff Cosgriff who just made the U-17 US National team. Ruiz constantly was with Cosgriff and forced him into a scoreless second half when S.I. needed him most. The Warriors won the game, 2-1. 

Jeff Coggan, a teammate of Jeff Cosgriff’s (Ruckus) and Garrett's said “Garrett is a top notch man marker.  No matter who he marks, he’ll stop them.”

The season is not over, and the Warriors will continue to rely on Ruiz for his services.  Every team needs a leader, and in a league where defense often wins championships, Garrett Ruiz stands above the rest.