Tigers soccer athletes win all-league honors while Jotwan Daniels takes home coach of the year award
Considering the transformation of the Summit High School Tigers boys soccer team over the second half of the 2021 season, it should come as no surprise that Jotwan Daniels was named boys soccer coach of the year for the Western Slope conference.
Daniels was able to galvanize his team in the second half of the season, ending the regular season with four consecutive wins in order to seal their spot in the 4A state playoffs.
That’s one reason why Daniels was named Western Slope conference coach of the year. The other reasons lie in the vision he has for the continued success of Summit’s soccer program going forward.
Daniels said the midseason shift happened when the team lost to D’Evelyn 5-2 on Oct. 5 during the regular season. Daniels attempted to fire up his team by telling them they had reverted to bad habits.
Daniels and his coaching staff then worked to hold the team accountable to ensure the Tigers put their best foot forward in every match. The boys bought into this mindset and saw success in the latter half of the season because of it.
Daniels, who will be entering his third season as head coach of the girls soccer team, won the coach of the year award in his first season as head coach of the boys program.
Daniels said he was a little shocked to hear that he won the award considering some of the veteran coaches in the league, such as longtime Battle Mountain head coach David Cope, who has spent a number of years building a strong program.
“This is my only second year coaching in the Western slope,” Daniels said. “I know there are some great coaches who have built some great programs. It feels good to be recognized for my efforts among coaches I aspire to be someday.”
Daniels is just beginning to build his own powerhouse soccer program. As head coach of the boys and girls teams, he is hoping to create a culture of successful soccer, where hard work, accountability and pride in representing the Summit community can provide a strong foundation.
“This is one of the first times people have seen the Summit soccer boys play as a team,” Daniels said. “So now it becomes, ‘Can we continue that team environment, and can I up the ante in terms of the expectations which we set this year?’ I am really excited to create that environment that is competitive and fun but also allows my players to meet those expectations.”
Several Summit Tigers also took home all-conference honors. Among them was junior forward Fabian Cuevas, who was an offensive powerhouse throughout the season, recording five goals and eight assists for a total of 18 points.
This is a massive improvement from his freshman campaign in 2019, when he recorded a single goal.
“I felt very happy that I was named part of the all-league Western Slope team,” Cuevas wrote in a text. “I am looking forward to being a better player next season, because it will be my senior season, and I want my last year to be my best year.”
Cuevas possibly had his biggest assist of the season when he fed the ball to Owen Gallo, who found the back of the net in order to win in overtime over Steamboat Springs, sealing the Tigers’ spot in the playoffs.
Junior midfielder Owen Gallo was named onto the all-conference honorable mention team. Gallo, who is a captain of the team, has played with Cuevas for many years, and the two share a special chemistry on the field. Gallo closed out his junior season with 21 points, nine goals and three assists.
The Summit Tigers also hosted their own awards banquet at the conclusion of the season, when many other awards were handed out to the team.
Gallo was named most valuable player while Cuevas was named best offensive player. Senior defenseman Noe Leyva took home best defensive player. Lastly, coaches awards were handed out to senior Collin Doran and junior Christian Skowron.
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