LA JOYA — Antonio Torres began his high school soccer career by earning the District 32-4A Newcomer of the Year award for a sensational freshman season at La Feria.

After transferring to La Joya Juarez-Lincoln for his sophomore through senior seasons, Torres has now closed his high school soccer career being named The Monitor’s 2020 All-Area Boys Soccer Player of the Year after scoring 59 goals in 27 games this season.

“As a forward, it’s about pushing yourself until the end of the game and pushing your team. You have to keep pressure, and when you score, it’s about knowing it’s a team effort and everybody’s putting in work, and when you score that goal, that completes the job, that’s what matters,” Torres said about his mindset on the pitch.

Torres earned a starting spot on a stacked Juarez-Lincoln squad as a sophomore, but didn’t immediately score many goals for the Huskies. Over his final two years, however, Torres’ started a scoring streak that was tough for opposing teams to keep up with.

During his senior season, Torres averaged 2.2 goals scored per game in 27 outings, including a run of 34 goals scored in just 12 district matches. He helped lead the Juarez-Lincoln Huskies to a 29-4-1 record and a fourth consecutive District 30-6A championship at 13-0.

Joining the Juarez-Lincoln soccer program, one of the Rio Grande Valley’s best, was a tall task that Torres said he met head on.

“It was very challenging, but I was up to the challenge. I felt confident in my skills and comfortable with my teammates, and they helped me out a lot with getting into shape and into their rhythm, because the level is something higher at a 6A school; it’s way higher, the competition is there, and I had to push myself harder to be at the same level as they are,” he said.

While Torres earned the honor of The Monitor’s All-Area Player of the Year, he credits his Juarez-Lincoln teammates and coaches for putting him in position to succeed. He feels his scoring output is a direct reflection of the talent of those around him.

“My friend Johan (Arevalo), he’s my midfielder and we’ve been teammates through club soccer. If it wouldn’t have been for him, I wouldn’t have had as many goals,” Torres said. “They’re a big part of the reason I was able to score so much this season, and playing with them these past few years has been amazing.”

Torres helped the Huskies extend their reign over 30-6A soccer with a fourth straight district title in 2019-20 as Juarez-Lincoln has now won 29 consecutive district games.

“Many people think it’s just district, but honestly, it’s hard to win district. We’ve been busting our butts off every offseason and you see all the hard work pay off at the end,” Torres said. “During the season, we have our ups and downs, but we manage to get through it together. Getting that district title three straight years, it was hard, but we got it through hard work and dedication all throughout our team.”

Juarez-Lincoln had high hopes for its playoff chances, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the UIL to cancel the postseason. Torres and the Huskies, however, rolled with the punches and learned some life lessons.

“We were all sad about it at first, but everything happens for a reason. I was really looking forward to the playoffs because we had an amazing team and felt we had a good chance, he said. “We were motivated, we were really looking forward to it, but we learn from every situation and now we’re looking forward to going to college.”

Torres will continue his academic career at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley this fall.

bramos@themonitor.com