MESQUITE — In sports, when an athlete hits a big, round number, it's a big deal.
Isai Velasquez hit 100 a couple weeks ago — that's 100 goals in three-and-a-half years of varsity soccer at West Mesquite High School. He's the first Mesquite Independent School District player to ever reach that milestone.
"It's basically a team effort," said Velasquez, who has scored 35 goals so far this season. "What's the point of me scoring all those goals? I mean, what matters is the whole team is winning. I don't care who scores the goals as long as we win."
Head Coach Alex Figert said Velasquez is humble about his success. "A lot of the kids know what they have in him," said Figert, now in his sixth year as head coach of the Wranglers. "They know that they got to play with a great player, but he doesn't see it that way. He views it as that he got to play with them and be part of this team."
Manny Hernandez, a senior center-midfielder, has seen 91 of Velasquez's 102 goals; they've played together on varsity since they were sophomores.
"He's really gifted," Hernandez said. "He's really, really fast. He has natural instinct; he just knows how to get past every defender."
A lot of the best soccer players choose club or academy over high school, but Velasquez wanted to play with West Mesquite. He has been rewarded with an unprecedented career, including back-to-back district MVP awards, with another probably coming this season.
"It's not just a team anymore; it's just like more of a family," Velasquez said. "We became so close together I wouldn't imagine playing with some other team. It wouldn't be the same."
The Wranglers start their playoff run on Friday, the beginning of the end for Isai Velasquez's high school career.