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June 6, 2014

All-Star soccer roster packed with local players

The Peach State’s roster for the Stump on Sports All-Star Classic boys soccer match is filled with local talent.

Of the 21 players listed, 16 played for a high school in Murray or Whitfield counties this season. They will come together and aim to defeat the Volunteer State today in a bragging rights battle between recent high school senior athletes from northwest Georgia and southeast Tennessee. The match kicks off at 4:30 p.m. at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga.

Four players from North Murray, which has won three straight region championships, are listed — midfielder Jacob Dotson, goalkeeper Manuel Gonzalez, striker Victor Iturbero and defender Jose-Luis Rangel. Iturbero was a member of The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Boys Soccer Team this season, while Gonzalez was selected in 2013.

From Dalton — the two-time Class 4A state champions currently sporting a 45-match undefeated streak — defender Pepe Gardea and midfielders Manny Solis and Victor Solis will play for Georgia.

From Coahulla Creek, which this season won a state tournament match for the first time, Pedro Garcia (another 2014 All-Area selection) and defenders Jo-An Barcenas and Irwin Rivera will play.

Northwest Whitfield, which has made the state playoffs each of the past three seasons, has defenders Kevin Centeno, David Franco and Miguel Villa (a three-time All-Area selection) on the roster.

Midfielder Fernando Arias and striker Jose Ruiz will represent Murray County High School, a state tournament qualifier the past two seasons. Ruiz led the area in goals with 44 and was an All-Area selection.

Defender Diego Nunez will represent Southeast Whitfield, the 2013 Class 4A runner-up to Dalton and a state semifinalist this season.

Also on the roster are Calhoun’s Brandon Blaylock, Alex Hernandez, Raul Moreno and Javier Velasquez, as well as Sonoraville’s Tarrin Melick. Calhoun coach Matt Rice will lead Georgia.

Last season, Tennessee won 3-0 to stretch its lead in the series to 8-1. Northwest’s David Perez was named Georgia’s Player of the Game.

Today’s match begins the annual series of Stump on Sports contests — all of this year’s competitions will be in Chattanooga — which continues with Saturday’s 7 p.m. football game at Boyd-Buchanan High School. Girls and boys basketball games are at 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Notre Dame High School, while the girls soccer match is at 4 p.m. on June 13 at Finley Stadium. The final day of action is June 18, with 6 p.m. starts for baseball at McCallie School and softball at Frost Stadium.

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