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2020 Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Falcons' Rios develops talent into stardom

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
Van Horn senior forward Edison Rios (4) put together an All-American-type season with 31 goals and 13 assists for the 20-5 Falcons. Rios is The Examiner's 2020 Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

The first time Van Horn High School soccer coach Jesus Rodriguez saw Edison Rios was in eighth grade.

“He was smaller than he is now,” Rodriguez said, “but even in eighth grade you knew he was going to be a special player.”

The coach didn’t need a crystal ball to make that prediction, as Rios has become one of the most dominant players in Falcons and Eastern Jackson County history.

Rios is the first Falcon to earn all-state recognition for three years. He also made first-team all-region, first-team all-district and was the Crossroads Conference Player of the Year and the Class 3 Region 4 Co-Offensive Player of the Year.

Rios was named to the High School All-American Watch List, was a first-team choice on the Kansas City Soccer Coaches Association's All-Metro team and is The 2020 Examiner’s Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

“I am so thrilled for Edison because I know how hard he has worked to become the player he is today,” Rodriguez added. “He makes everything look so easy that it is sometimes easy to forget how hard he works.

“From the eighth grader I saw five years ago to the man he is today, I am so very proud of what he has become both as a player and as a young man representing Van Horn High School.”

Rios finished his high school career with 122 career goals and 29 assists. He led the Falcons this season with 31 goals and 13 assists as they reached the Class 3 state quarterfinals and finished 20-5.

“His speed is so hard to match,” Rodriguez said. “And once he really learned the game and didn’t just get by on his remarkable talent, he became the dynamic player that he is today.

“I told him at the end of the season that it will be quite some time before I am fortunate enough to coach another player with the talent of Edison Rios.”

Rios is thrilled to win the honor.

“I am so thankful for this honor,” said Rios, who has been a member of The Examiner’s All-Area team the past three years. “I have worked so hard, and this feels good.

“I like to talk about my team, my coaches and my school. And I can do this because I am the player of the year. I would rather win than win awards, but since the season is over, this is a nice award. Thank you.”

Rios said as his eighth grade season progressed, he realized that soccer could help pay for his education.

“I owe it all to Coach Rodriguez and Coach (Zach) Wilson and my teammates and Coach (Chris) Corrie (the first soccer coach when Van Horn joined the Independence School District and the school’s current activities director). Everyone one at Van Horn has made me the player and the man I am today.”

Although he had many collegiate offers, Rios said he has chosen to go the junior college route.

“I am going to Johnson County Community College because that allows me to work on my academics and my soccer skills for the next one or two years,” Rios said.

“And that excites me. Who knows what might happen in the future? I know I had an amazing four years at Van Horn and now I am ready for the next challenge.”

2020 Examiner All-Area Boys Soccer

FIRST TEAM

Forward: Matthew Martinez, sr., Blue Springs — 10 goals, 4 assists; All-Suburban Big Eight, all-district, All-Class 4 Region 3, MHSSCA Class 4 All-State second team; KC Soccer Coaches Association All-Metro honorable mention.

Forward: Jacksyn McIntyre, jr., Blue Springs South — 21 goals, 9 assists; All-Suburban Big Eight, all-district, All-Class 4 Region 3, MHSSCA Class 4 All-State first team; KC Soccer Coaches Association All-Metro second team.

Forward: Edison Rios, sr., Van Horn — 31 goals, 13 assists; Crossroads Conference Player of the Year, all-district, Class 3 Region 4 Co-Offensive Player of the Year, MHSSCA Class 3 All-State first team; KC Soccer Coaches Association All-Metro first team; High School All-America Watch List; 2020 Examiner Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Midfielder: Diego Coronado, jr., Van Horn — 13 goals, 17 assists, 26 tackles; All-Crossroads Conference, all-district, All-Class 3 Region 4; MHSSCA Class 3 All-State honorable mention.

Midfielder: Tyler Dailey, sr., Lee's Summit North — 13 goals, 7 assists; All-Suburban Big Eight, all-district, All-Class 4 Region 4; MHSSCA Class 4 All-State second team; KC Soccer Coaches Association All-Metro second team.

Midfielder: Caden Hoehns, jr., Blue Springs — 10 goals, 6 assists; All-Suburban Big Eight; All-Class 4 Region 3; KC Soccer Coaches Association All-Metro honorable mention.

Midfielder: Gael Perez, sr., Oak Grove — 15 goals, 11 assists; All-MRVC West; all-district, Class 2 Region 4 Player of the Year, MHSSCA Class 2 all-state first team.

Midfielder: Lawrence Roccaro, sr., St. Michael the Archangel — 20 goals, 8 assists; all-district, all-region, MHSSCA Class 3 all-state second team.

Defender: Kyne Butcher, sr., Van Horn — 1 goal, 1 assist, team recorded 10 shutouts, 76 tackles; All-Crossroads Conference; all-district; All-Class 3 Region 4; MHSSCA Class 3 All-State honorable mention; KC Soccer Coaches Association All-Metro honorable mention.

Defender: Josue Ramirez, sr., Truman — Team recorded 7 shutouts; All-Suburban Middle Six; Suburban Middle Six Co-Player of the Year; Suburban Middle Six Co-Defensive Player of the Year; all-district.

Defender: Austin Schmitt, soph., Grain Valley — 7 goals, 6 assists, team recorded 3 shutouts; All-Suburban Middle Six; all-district; All-Class 3 Region 2, MHSSCA Class 3 All-State second team; KC Soccer Coaches Association All-Metro honorable mention.

Goalkeeper: Cooper Sumpter, sr., Van Horn — 20-5 record, 108 saves, 10 shutouts, 0.80 goals-against average (20 goals allowed in 25 games); all-district, Class 3 Region 4 Goalkeeper of the Year, MHSSCA Class 3 all-state second team.

SECOND TEAM

F: Christopher Allesio, sr., Truman

F: Liam Frank, sr., Lee’s Summit North

F: Keegan Huff, sr., Oak Grove

F: Keegan LeNeave, jr., St. Michael the Archangel

F: Lucca Smith, soph., Fort Osage

MF: Justin Epperson, sr., Fort Osage

MF: Blake Landaverry, jr., Lee’s Summit North

MF: Micah Lubin, sr., Blue Springs

MF: Chris Oberkrom, sr., St. Michael the Archangel

MF: Dylan Prater, sr., Blue Springs South

MF: Miguel Ramos, sr., Truman

MF: Homer Skidmore, jr., Blue Springs South

MF: Matthew Sudario, sr., Oak Grove

MF: Jorge Venegas, jr., Van Horn

MF: Carson Wilcox, sr., Lee’s Summit North

D: Daniel Aguilar, jr., Van Horn

D: Colin Barry, sr., Blue Springs

D: Jackson Keeton, jr., Blue Springs South

D: Ben Lampe, jr., Lee’s Summit North

D: Noah Weiler, sr., St. Michael the Archangel

GK: Hagan Dyer, sr., Oak Grove

GK: Vincent Haggerty, sr., St. Michael the Archangel

GK: Javier Merino, jr., William Chrisman

HONORABLE MENTION

Blue Springs: Alex Barajas, jr., D; Landon Bernhardy, soph., MF; Will Rusk, jr., D; Blue Springs South: Peyton Cole, jr., F; Brandin Johnson, jr., D; Joey Lorek, soph., GK; Daniel Park, sr., MF; Fort Osage: Brady Parsons, sr., MF; Grain Valley: Alex Engram, sr., F; Micah Siems, jr., MF; Owen White, soph., MF; Lee’s Summit North: Landon Binger, jr., D; Jackson Briley, jr., D; George Camburako, jr., GK; Nolan Piedimonte, soph., F; Oak Grove: Jonas Davis, sr., D; St. Michael the Archangel: Max Ellis, soph., D; Josh Oberkrom, sr., D; Charlie Putthoff, jr., F; Truman: Alan Romero, sr., MF/D; Van Horn: Jhonny de la Rosa Esparza, soph., MF; Kobe Otano, jr., MF; William Chrisman: Joseph Casebolt, sr., D; Mitchell Cory, soph., MF; Ali Fataki, jr., F; Legend Spencer, jr., MF.