A quiet leader, with plenty of command

Knights men’s soccer Captain Francisco Contreras rules the field with skill and determination

David Linares

It is a playground cliché to say that the best player wears the No. 10 jersey and is also the captain of the soccer team. Francisco Contreras is no cliché. He is No. 10 due to his skill, his leadership and his determination which have allowed him to quickly become the team captain.

Contreras is a 23-year-old student of San Diego City College and a forward for its soccer team. He is currently in his first semester at the school, his first semester after a three-year hiatus.

The reason why “Cisco,” as his family and teammates call him, started playing soccer was because his family has always played it. He began playing when he was four-years-old at the Peninsula YMCA. And the reason he says he gained interest in it was because, “It’s difficult, you know. You use your entire body not just a certain part of your body. You use your feet to run, your skills.”

Before high school, he joined a soccer club and was also a member of Albion SC San Diego, a local soccer organization for young boys and girls. He won trophies such as a regional cup and even a national championship with Albion SC San Diego. Contreras then went on to play soccer in high school, where he played for Point Loma High School, also as a forward.

When it was time to make his transition into college he chose Grossmont College. However his brother, Pedro, was playing for the Cuyamaca Coyotes and Contreras wanted to join him. It wasn’t until his brother broke his leg and his family fell under some financial problems in 2011 that he decided to quit school and start working.

While on hiatus from school, Francisco worked construction. While working construction on soccer coach Milton Hidalgo’s house this past summer, the coach spoke to the talented player. Hidalgo’s former assistant had even previously attempted to get Francisco to play for the Knights.

Coach Hidalgo convinced Contreras to go back to school primarily and join the Knight’s soccer team.

Francisco is a creative player. The kind that knows how to read the game, even while playing it and he believes that is his main attribute. The number 10 jersey is always awarded to players that possess such traits. He compliments his understanding of the game with quality dribbling and scoring goals.

His loved ones, teammates and opponents recognized his talent. Left midfielder Didier Hatungimana explained that Francisco always has several players from the other teams trying to cover him. He believes that they do it because Contreras is a very skillful player.

Contreras is an older and more experienced player. Since many of his teammates had not played in competitive soccer before he understands and acknowledges the responsibility of having to deal with these players.

His leadership derives from the values that his parents taught him, respect primarily.

Francisco’s dad, Pedro Contreras, acknowledges, “We have taught them,” referring to Francisco and his siblings, “that they learn how to respect people and be sincere.”

His teammates don’t only see him as a great player but also as a person with a voice inside the locker room.

“Cisco is our captain. He is a great player. He keeps me like focused on the sport, like he tells me what to do to make me a better player,” explains Knights Right Winger Rafael Lopez

He is leading the state college statistics in goal scoring. He’s first place in scoring with 21 goals this season, according to the official site of California Community College Athletics (CCCAA) on Nov. 17. He’s also assisted nine goals, number 11 in the state for assists.

“Francisco is a quiet leader that leads by example. He lets his actions on the field speak for him and he sets the tone for the entire team, in that they all rally around him,” said coach Milton Hidalgo.

Contreras still manages to work five days a week at a Church’s restaurant and only rests from work on game days. He is currently taking 15 units as well and is a guy who does not like to go out and party; he prefers to stay at home and watch movies, his main hobby.

Although he does not know which university he will attend in the future, he is concentrated on his education and is planning to transfer to a four year university. Contreras would love to play in university level soccer. He believes it will provide him a bigger opportunity to become a professional player, but he is determined to get his degree first.

He is passionate about soccer, and does not dislike anything about it, but Contreras wants to major and work in criminal justice. His upbringing in Logan Heights has inspired this, as he saw many crimes and wishes to be able to help the victims.