If football is the heart of Oakdale athletics, then soccer is the feet.
For 2008 Oakdale High graduate Luis Cisneros, those feet have taken him to new heights in a whole new world of competitive sports.
Cisneros could soon be playing for a minor league soccer team in Mexico, and expects to hear details of his professional contract with Chivas de Guadalajara this week.
Cisneros, a Valley Oak League All-League performer who led Oakdale to Sac-Joaquin Section titles in 2005 and 2007, played in the Verizon National All Star Game (aired on FOX) on Sunday, Sept. 26, at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium in Los Angeles.
Pooling from over 4,000 aspiring athletes in tryouts from 10 different U.S. cities, the national scouting tour of Alianza de Futbol Hispano formed a 22-player roster to compete against Chivas de Guadalajara’s second division Under-20 team and a U.S.-based Chivas program under the national spotlight.
At this stage, Cisneros (a center back defender) impressed a deep list of scouts with strong play, ultimately receiving word that he would likely pick up a minor league contract with Chivas for play in the immediate future.
“Right now I have an incredible opportunity,” Cisneros said. “I’m going to work three times as hard to land a contract and play as long as I can.”
Cisneros’ dedication to the sport isn’t hard to see, especially if you drive past the Paboojian ranch and the lighted soccer fields on Albers Road on any Oakdale evening.
It’s at this residence, the home of Shannon (assistant soccer coach at OHS) and Diana Paboojian, where Cisneros lives and does all of his training.
“If it weren’t for (Shannon and Diana), I don’t know where I would be right now,” Cisneros said. “I work for them, I live with them and I consider them my family now.”
Cisneros built a relationship with the Paboojians as they watched him play varsity soccer at OHS during his sophomore to senior seasons with the Mustangs. They were able to offer him a job when family struggles forced Cisneros to leave Modesto Junior College and the Pirates’ soccer team.
But even though college soccer faded away, Cisneros never stepped away from the game. He won two state cups with the Turlock Tornadoes in an Under-23 premier league, even earning a trip to regional competition in Hawaii in 2009.
The lifelong soccer fan that first began competitive soccer with a Bay Area elementary school team and moved to Oakdale his fifth grade year saw his soccer career bloom under the national spotlight just a few weeks ago.
“Soccer has always been involved in my life, and I have never seen myself being happy doing anything else other than soccer,” Cisneros said. “Right now I have the chance to play as a career, and I’m going to give it everything I have got.”