SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The Mission High School Boys Soccer Team arrived home in San Francisco Saturday night champions. They won the Northern California Regional Division V Championship.
But their teammate, 17-year-old Aaron Villareal, was not far from their thoughts.
“He trained so hard off season and then in the field and off the field, he really wanted to win so bad,” said teammate Freddy Moreno. “It’s a traditional for their family because they’ve been coming to Mission High School for like a lot of years.”
Jose Mendoza is the team’s coach.
“He’s hurting right now, but he’s definitely here with us, since Thursday we’ve been thinking about him and Thursday, you could tell going out to the game everyone was feeling what he was feeling,” said Mendoza. “Everyone was fighting for him today.”
The team carried reminders of Villareal and his number “21” on a poster they made, and on homemade shirts that the boys wore during warm-ups.
“Aaron’s just a really nice guy, he talked to everybody, he got along with everybody, he’s just an outgoing person that if you got to know him you would just love him,” said teammate Marvin Flores.
Villareal is in critical condition at the hospital. He was in the minivan that crashed into an illegally parked big rig on the shoulder of westbound 1-80 early Thursday morning. The CHp says the driver had pulled over to sleep.
Siblings Eli, Sarah and Eva were killed when their car slammed into the semi-truck. Their younger brother Aaron was the only one who survived.
The family had been racing from the East Bay to San Francisco to see their dying father, who is hospitalized with stage four colon cancer.
The team plans to organize a visit to the hospital soon.
The coach says Villareal is supposed to be team captain next year, one more reason for a speedy recovery.