THE AMERICAN DREAM; Aguilar Has Work Ethic That Transcends All Cultures
MACARTHUR COACH SALVADOR FERNANDEZ GOT BACK INTO HIGH SCHOOL COACHING AFTER A STINT AS AN ASSISTANT ATHLETIC DIRECTOR BECAUSE OF STUDENTS LIKE JOSE AGUILAR.
Aguilar is a first-team defender, returning for his senior season on the pitch for the Generals. MacArthur is turning into a super-power in the district and reached the third round of the postseason in 2021. Fernandez was the District Coach of the Year, but it's about kids like Aguilar that make him happy to be back.
"I moved to the United States from El Salvador when I was in middle school and it was tough," Fernandez said. "I see so much of myself in Jose. He came over from El Salvador at the same age. He didn't speak the language and soccer gave him a peer group, just like me."
Aguilar's English has improved significantly and so has his game.
"Soccer gives me a lot of comfort," Jose said. "My older brother taught me to play when I was very young and I have worked so hard on my game. My strengths are speed and defense, but coach says I'm going to need to be more versatile on offense. I will be attacking on the wing."
He's a student of the game, even when watching soccer on television.
"My favorite team is Man City and I really watch the guys playing my position," he said. "You can learn so much from watching where they go and how they take different angles to the ball."
Aguilar is integrating into American culture, watching Stranger Things and All American on Netflix with the team.
"It's so funny to see him getting more comfortable," Fernandez said. "It's like I'm looking in a mirror. He's our only kid from El Salvador on the team. What his teammates don't understand is how poor the country he came from really is. In America, there are so many opportunities and you are given everything. In El Salvador, you walked an hour to school. Here, you just get on a bus."
Aguilar is a testament to the American Dream. If the old adage remains true that if you work hard, you will have success, Aguilar will be able to accomplish virtually anything.