Soccer player Ivan Quintero transformed from an athlete who was academically ineligible into a player who graduated with honors this year from Arroyo Valley High School. Quintero acknowledged he was ditching classes and not doing school work which kept him from playing soccer for the first time since he began to walk. Through tough love and understanding Quintero went on to earn Arroyo Valley’s 2016 Boy Athlete of the Year, the school’s Ken Hubbs Award nominee and a scholarship to play soccer at Cal State San Bernardino.
Quintero knew all about club soccer by playing on his Riverside FC team but he knew nothing about high school soccer when he enrolled at Arroyo Valley as a freshman. Arroyo Valley soccer coach Miguel Alatorre agreed that Quintero did not care for school work. Quintero credited Alatorre with giving him an opportunity and to his mother, Maria, for becoming more of an enforcer. Quintero recalled that Alatorre noticed him when he was a substitute gym teacher.
“How could I not notice him,” said Alatorre. “He was a six-foot tall freshman who could run with sprinter’s speed. We had some small talk. He said he could play, so I tested him. I knew right away that he was really something.” Both Alatorre and Quintero said grades were a problem. “I did not know that you had to have good grades to play in high school. No one talks about high school on club teams.” He said bad grades were not caused by going to parties or hanging out. “Its never been my thing to party. I just wanted to be cool. Not being able to play my freshman year really motivated me.”
Alatorre was impressed that his future star went to all the team’s games even though he could not play. “He really gained maturity. He loves to play. He’s the first kid from our school to get a four-year scholarship to play soccer,” said Alatorre, who also played soccer at Cal State San Bernardino. Alatorre’s journey to make Cal State’s soccer team took a different route. He had to walk on and amazingly finally made the team as a junior.
When Quintero got his grades up as a sophomore, he went right to work by making first team All-San Andreas League all three years at AVHS. He was league MVP this season. This season, he was selected to the All-CIF Division 5 first team, and was named second team All-CIF team last year. Last season he helped AVHS to the league championship. He is the two-time SAL scoring leader and his 52 points this season were fourth best in San Bernardino County. As a sophomore and junior, Quintero ran the 100 and 200, 4×100 relay, and performed the high jump for the school’s track team.
During his junior year, Quintero’s ability caught the eye of a scout affiliated with the 17U Chivas Guadalajara Academy, a Division 3 level amateur team in Mexico. He was offered a chance to stay and finish high school at the academy, but declined. “The people down there treated me very well. They play on really nice fields and the competition is tough,” explained Quintero. “It was an honor that I was good enough that they would choose me. But right before I got to Guadalajara they kidnapped a kid from my team and found him dead. After three weeks I came back home.”
The trip to Mexico and subsequent scholarship to play at Cal State has provided Quintero with additional confidence toward his goal. “I’m one step closer to my dream. Hopefully, I get picked to play professionally.” Quintero said he respected the younger soccer players at school and tried to tell them what he learned. “Our younger players are the future of Arroyo Valley. I told them to keep their grades up, work hard, follow their dreams and be somebody in life. Some listened. One later thanked me.”
Quintero raised his GPA to 3.85, good for a class rank of 41 out of 508 seniors. “My father (Ramon) is so proud he is buying me a car. He and my mom are happy because they did not finish high school. They are going to choose the car. I’m not picky.”
Alatorre feels that Quintero’s level of growth is unlimited. “He’s continued to grow every year and there is still room for a lot more. He is super strong. I’ve shared my stories. I tell him never be content.”