Aptos High's Summer Jacob dribbles past Amy Barrientos of visiting Branham during a CCS Division II soccer match on Saturday, Feb 18, 2023. (Raul Ebio - The Pajaronian)

APTOS—It’s typically difficult to identify an MVP-type caliber soccer player when they primarily play in the defensive backfield and it’s the attackers producing all of the highlight reels with the goals and assists.

Aptos High senior defensive midfielder Summer Jacob recorded just one goal and was credited with one assist the whole season, yet her presence and toughness in the middle third of the pitch is what coaches would dream of having any day of the week.   

It was one of the main reasons the Mariners standout player was named the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League co-Player of the Year this season by the coaches within the league.

“I felt super honored, it means a lot to me because of the hard work I put in,” she said. “I played with so many amazing soccer players and I just know I wouldn’t have been able to get where I am today without all my teammates and coaches. I’m just really honored to represent our team, too.”

Jacob shared the award with Santa Cruz High sophomore Jocelyn Travers.

Aptos coach Gina Castañeda said Jacob deserves to be the league’s top player because of the way she plays the No. 6 position–defensive midfielder–which the longtime skipper believes is one of the most difficult positions for athletes to play. 

Not only does Jacob have to protect the defensive line, but she’s also the key player that transitions the ball from the defensive line to the middle and into the attacking third of the field. 

She helped lead the Mariners to an SCCAL title with a 9-1-0 record in league play and clinched top seed in the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs this season.

“She had a huge role and for the past two years has done an excellent job,” Castañeda said. “She is a wall in the air. She gets to every ball with her head, people could not get the ball over her.” 

Castañeda mentioned how Jacob’s work ethic is beyond amazing. If there was a chance for her to put 11 players on the pitch who play with the dedication and love for the game as Jacob does, Castañeda would. 

Jacobs’s soccer IQ is off the charts and her leadership skills along with her attitude toward her teammates is unlike any other that Castañeda has seen.

“She just raises the bar to all of the players that are around her,” Castañeda said. “Not to mention that she’s just this gentle kind soul to everybody.”

Jacob said she always wants to work hard to win back the ball and be there to support her teammates if they lose it. One of the things she loves about soccer is that it’s a team sport and she feels close to her companions.

“I always want to be there for them and it’s like my second family,” Jacob said. “I think that passion is what makes me want to work so hard when I play.”

Jacob said the award really did come to her as a surprise, especially because she knows there’s a lot of good talent in the area.

The recognition from the coaches within the league gives her a lot of pride and makes her happy that they appreciated the hard work she put in. 

“I feel really supported by everyone and soccer has been such a huge part of my life and it’s made me who I am,” she said. To be able to get that award was just really meaningful to me.

All-SCCAL Girls Soccer

Individual Awards

Players of the Year: Summer Jacob (Sr.), Aptos; Jocelyn Travers (So.), Santa Cruz 

Most Outstanding Attacker: Naiya Saimos (Sr.), Scotts Valley

Most Outstanding Midfielder: Lily Montesinos (Sr.), Soquel

Goalkeeper of the Year: Ruby Holmes (Jr.), Santa Cruz 

Coach of the Year: Taylor Raymond (second season), Scotts Valley

First team

Aptos High freshman Alexa Castañeda recorded a pair of assists for the Mariners girls’ soccer team in its 3-1 win over Soquel High SCCAL action on Thursday, January 19, 2023. (Raul Ebio – The Pajaronian)

Kaitlyn Murphy (Jr.), Aptos  

Alexa Castañeda (Fr.), Aptos 

Ella Shoemaker (Jr.), Aptos 

Hannah LoFranco (Sr.), Harbor

Gianna Schwarzbach (Sr.), San Lorenzo Valley

Clara Willet (Jr.), Santa Cruz 

Zaina Alahaina (Sr.), Santa Cruz

Alex Teves (Sr.), Scotts Valley 

Ella Ireland (Fr.), Scotts Valley 

Julia Inkles (Jr.), Soquel 

Haily Betterman (Fr.), Soquel 

Second team

Aptos High’s Gwen Chapman dribbles past Kayla Tehrani of visiting Branham during a CCS Division II soccer match on Saturday, Feb 18, 2023. (Raul Ebio – The Pajaronian)

Angelique Nunez (Jr.), Aptos 

Catalina Ontiveros (Sr.), Aptos 

Gwen Chapman (Sr.), Aptos 

Sonja Hulpers (Jr.), Harbor

Simone Mugnier (Fr.), San Lorenzo Valley

Clare Byram (Sr.), Santa Cruz 

Maya Kingsley (Jr.), Santa Cruz 

Lia Lock (So.), Scotts Valley 

Ashley Haver (So.), Scotts Valley 

Yaren Yanez (Sr.), Soquel 

Chloe McGilvray (So.), Soquel 

Honorable Mention

Madison Redding (Fr.), Aptos

Peyton Westjohn (Jr.), Aptos 

Alessandra Zuniga (Jr.), Aptos 

Lia Gulorte (Fr.), Santa Cruz 

Sienna Parker (Jr.), Santa Cruz 

Lucinda Steiner (Jr.), Santa Cruz 

Paige Bariteau (Jr.), Scotts Valley 

Annie Gowing (Jr.), Scotts Valley 

Dillon Fiorita (So.), Scotts Valley

Alexis Sierra (So.), Soquel 

Victoria Weiss (Jr.), Soquel 

Sadie Strout (Sr.), Soquel 

Zoe Soenen (Jr.), Harbor 

Becca Vaca (So.), Harbor 

Anika Dawson (Jr.), Harbor 

Joci Carkner (Jr.), SLV 

Naomi Sifton (Jr.), SLV 

Leila Nite (Jr.), SLV 

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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