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Parker anchored Lincoln’s defense

Zebras’ MVP, a junior, hopes to play soccer in college
By: Russ Edmondson, The News Messenger
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Lincoln High junior soccer player Raymond Parker was named the Zebras’ MVP at the end-of-season team banquet earlier this month. Parker, the team captain who played at sweeper, was a steady defender for the Zebras (1-15-3 overall, 1-8-3 in the Pioneer Valley League) this season. He also was part of three of Lincoln’s 10 goals, scoring once and earning two assists. Lincoln coach Javier Banuelos appreciated Parker’s efforts throughout the year. “Even though we struggled this year he still gave 100 percent, even in games where we were way out of it he’s still going 100 percent,” Banuelos said. “That’s just the way he is. He likes the competition.” Parker helped keep the Zebras in many matches with his defense. “He’s really important, pretty much the strength of our defense . . . he was probably the most physical player we had,” Banuelos said. “He’s skilled with great speed and all around (a solid player).” Parker was also the only member of the Zebras that was selected as a first-team all-PVL player by the league’s coaches. “Yeah it means a lot – especially being a junior because I was expecting a senior to get it,” said Parker about being named all-PVL. “I thought (seniors) Cory Howell, Christian Martinez, Eddie (Diera), Humberto (Sanabia) and Ivian (Ruiz) –any one of them could have got it.” Parker was proud that the Zebras never gave up this season despite all the losses. “Halfway through the season we pretty much knew that the playoffs weren’t going to happen but we still wanted to come out with the best season we could,” said Parker, who played on the varsity as a sophomore. “The season was pretty long and we didn’t win a lot of games and the team needed to come together more and play more like a team but unfortunately we didn’t do that by the end of the season. Everyone knew we could win but our scores just weren’t showing it.” Parker also plays for the Nike Cal Rush, a competitive, year-round soccer team. The new season started in early December. Parker, a team captain, plays at midfield for Cal Rush. “It’s pretty much year round, we stop in March and then in April it’s tryouts again,” said Parker about the Nike season. “And we take a break so everyone can play high school soccer.” Parker hopes to earn a soccer scholarship for college. “I’m devoted to (soccer),” Parker said. “I’m not really looking to play professionally but maybe I can use soccer to help me get into college. I haven’t decided exactly where I want to go – I went to Cal Poly, Chico State and UC Santa Cruz – and I got a couple emails from Chico but nothing that serious.” Banuelos thinks Parker is good enough to be a college player. “He definitely has the size (5-foot-11) and the speed and the aggressiveness,” Banuelos said. “And one more year will definitely help him out a lot and he plays a lot in the off-season (for Cal Rush) also. The game is faster and more aggressive at the next level and he is definitely getting faster and more aggressive.” Parker’s nickname is ‘Ram’. “Ram is just the nickname I’ve had my whole life,” Parker said. “It’s also my dad’s (also Raymond) nickname that he got from his uncle. Most of my friends and everyone on the soccer team calls me Ram.”