CLOSER LOOK: Valley View MF Alex Turkson

Take a closer look at Moreno Valley Valley View midfielder Alex Turkson and you’ll see a player whose on-the-ball talent is so overwhelming that it’s easy to overlook how hard he worked to get in attacking areas.

“He puts himself in the right position to score,” Valley View Coach John Kush said.

Turkson, the reigning Inland Area Player Of The Year, and the Eagles are ranked No. 1 in the recent Inland Area Prep Soccer Top 10.

If he was great as a junior than he’s been just as good or better as a senior, leading the team in goals and assists a second consecutive season.

I caught up with Turkson following Valley View’s 3-0 victory over Riverside Arlington on Dec. 15. He just scored and had two assists as the Eagles continued their recent dominance over an intermittent rival.

Arlington gave you guys a little trouble last year. Obviously not this year. What’s different?

“It’s just effort. Every year it’s close and the team that bring the effort gets the result. It’s just what it is,” Turkson said.

What’s changed from last year to this year?

“We’re more of a team now, ya know? We play for each other, we play to win, and that’s all that matters. First thing that matters is our effort, and then our skill takes over.”

What was the key to winning today?

“The key thing is to battle. No matter who you play… the skill’s not gonna be there… but if you present the effort you can stay in the game. That’s what we did today. In the first half they we’re able to keep up with us, we weren’t playing our game, and then we brought it hard in the second half, sped the game up and then we got the result.”

You guys beat Claremont 2-0 at the Rancho Cucamonga Tournament. Tell me about that game.

“Everyone was up for that one. It was revenge time. That’s what it was all about, and I thought they lost some key players on defense and we just took advantage of that. We knew what happened last year in the playoffs and we said, ‘This is revenge time,’ and we went after them, played our game, brought it to them. And since we last year we have experience so we took that to them.”

Your team is about to take an extended break (19 days) before playing again. Isn’t that tough when you’re in top form?

“It’s a matter of staying healthy over the break. Come back early and get to work, ’cause there’s no breaks after, once we come back. Like you said, it’s tough to take a break when we got a streak like this going so we just have to keep the effort, keep the focus during training.”

The Eagles’s 10-game shutout streak earlier this season was, in no small amount, influenced by the spectacular play of Turkson.

And if he’s truly focused on his training, I sort of feel sorry for every one he’s playing against.

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