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Valencia's Ben Beilin: Playing it cool

Senior is concerned about winning, not boasting

Posted: January 23, 2011 7:42 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2011 4:55 a.m.

Valencia’s Ben Beilin is usually the player trying to calm his teammates down, not yelling at the referees or opponents.

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Imagine a scenario where Valencia boys soccer is playing for a chance at a Foothill League title.

The score is tied. The game clock is winding down.

Let’s say Valencia senior Ben Beilin scores the game-winner in stoppage time.

One could take a few guesses as to what the center midfielder would be doing.

Here’s a hint: He wouldn’t be doing back flips.

“He runs to his teammates and we embrace. That’s it.” says four-year teammate Matt Peters, recounting Beilin’s usual celebration. “He doesn’t try to do stupid things like knee slides and flips and stuff like that. He just celebrates with his team.”

Sure, the 18-year-old Beilin would be plenty jovial, but grandstanding just isn’t his style.

Performing at the highest level he knows is.

“Ben’s not the kind of kid that beats his chest,” says Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio. “He’s the kind of kid that goes out there and beats you on the field.”

In that sense, not much has changed for Beilin in the four years he’s started for Valencia’s varsity team.

He doesn’t say much. He doesn’t get caught up in feuds between players or referees. He just makes sure his team is in the right mindset and the right position to win.

As one of the Vikings’ captains, that’s his job.

“Usually, I want to keep it cool,” Beilin says. “I don’t want to cause fights. That’s not what soccer is about.”

For Beilin, soccer is just about winning.

And so far, Valencia has done plenty of that, going 13-2-2 and opening league play at 2-0-2.

One of those ties came in last Tuesday’s chippy matchup with defending league champion Canyon, a game that ended 2-2.

It’s games like that where Valencia is happy to have a player like Beilin.

Valencia midfielder Renato Sanchez, another four-year starter, admitted he was involved in some of the arguing and conflict between the teams, but he listened to his captain when emotions ran high.

“He kept telling everyone to just ignore the other team and what they’re saying and what they’re doing and just focus on the game,” Sanchez says.

Beilin’s message was simple, yet effective.

The Vikings managed to score a game-tying goal with minutes to play and prevented their first loss in league play.

“What I see is he is just under control during the game,” Peters says. “He is even keel and he doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him.”

Even if Beilin does find himself in a physical or verbal squall with another player, he’ll just respond the best way he knows how. “You’ve just got to be physical back and make your own place on the field,” Beilin says.

And that is why Beilin is a perfect leader for the senior-laden Valencia team.

He’s the epitome of leading by example, not by words.

That goes for both game days and the practices and training leading up.

Between constant running and putting in extra time outside of practice, Sanchez calls Beilin the hardest worker on the team.

He has plenty of talent to go along with the determination, too.

Last summer, Beilin wrapped up his final season with South Bay Force, one of the highest-level soccer clubs available for his age group.

He has also verbally committed to Humboldt State University, where he plans to continue his soccer career on at least a partial scholarship.

That’s all despite the fact that Beilin is not the team’s primary goal-scorer.

Scalercio says the senior does the “dirty work” in the middle and is happy to play more of a ball-distribution role.

“As long as we’re winning and having a good time, I’m sure he’s content.” Peters says.

It’s not that Beilin doesn’t like to score, he just doesn’t have a problem feeding the ball to forwards and making sure he gets back on the defensive end.

It’s not a position just anyone can play. It requires great endurance, discipline and dedication.

Fortunately, those are things Beilin has possessed since the day he walked on the Valencia soccer field.

“Ben is extremely mature for his age,” Scalercio says. “He’s played for me for four years, and he’s always been able to take direction well and he’s always been a team guy.”

This year, the team boasts 12 seniors, many of whom have watched Canyon win the league title in each of the past three years.

In his fourth and final year, Valencia’s captain can sense a changing tide.

“We don’t plan on losing,” Beilin says. “But if we did, just don’t put your head down.”

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