CLOSER LOOK: REV’s Jonathan Garcia

Redlands East Valley senior Jonathan Garcia has committed to University of Hawaii-Hilo. / Photo by DENNIS POPE

Redlands East Valley senior Jonathan Garcia has committed to University of Hawaii-Hilo. / Photo by DENNIS POPE

Take a closer look at Redlands East Valley senior Jonathan Garcia and you’ll see a player with such a low center of gravity that when he’s fouled — and it’s often — he gets to the ground quickly.

The 5-foot-6, 145-pound senior gets so many calls that it becomes a thing for opposing coaches. They react to the referee reacting to Garcia on the attack.

It’s exciting/excruciating to watch, Garcia with the ball juxtaposed the body language of an opposing coach when his defender inevitably fouls REV’s top man. It should be a show that plays out countless times this season.

Wildcats coach Ted Small has seen first hand how Garcia, who recently committed to University of Hawaii-Hilo, has grown into the Inland Area’s elite playmaker.

“The last six months he’s a whole other player. It’s difficult for these kids, when I look at them, to compare certain players. When you look at him he’s destined to go pro. He’s destined to go pro. He’ll be on TV three years from now,” Small said.

The prospect of a pro career for any high schooler is, even still, a little high-minded. But those who dare must take on other inherent considerations.

“The real question is how I get him to work as hard as everybody else, and how do I get everyone to feed off his energy?” Small said.

We caught up with Garcia after the REV’s 1-0 victory over Claremont in the Tournament of Champions final at Rialto Carter High School on Saturday, Dec. 12.

FOMB: As a smaller player, how have you dealt with increasing levels of physicality from defenders?
Garcia: Every game has been physical. Against King I got hit really hard. Even though it wasn’t intentional, I got the shot off and I got hit after. I was just an accident but after that I’ve been having problems. What I’ve been trying to do is think about kids that are on the field but have problems, like cut-off legs or something, so what I do is ‘You know what? If they can do it…’ — because I’ve seen videos of them doing it — ‘I shouldn’t be complaining.’ It’s just a blessing to be on the field.

FOMB: How has this season’s team changed your role?
JG: When you have a team like this, this is the team that makes me shine. It’s not me. If any credit give it to the team (and) to Ted for organizing the team. We lost our whole back defense. It was a puzzle for Ted, and it’s working out. Give that credit to Ted and the players for coming out because we do have a lot of players who weren’t on varsity last year. They weren’t on varsity last year and they’re playing as if they’ve been here all four years. Respect to my team.

FOMB: You’re a captain this year. What does that mean to you?
JG: Trying to be a leader in a positive way. It’s my first time being a captain, ever, so in a way you can’t be negative. It’s a learning process for me, being positive at all times because if the captain’s sad or down or being negative, the team’s going to be negative. This is about growing as a team, showing them to be positive. Challenges comes. Without me they’re still a team. Me without them, I’m nothing.”

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