Matador of the Week: Men’s soccer’s Giovanni Aguilar

Giovani Aguilar, 10, slide tackles Leo Mendez, 19, during their match at Performance Field in Northridge, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

Jordan Puente, Sports Assistant Editor

CSUN men’s soccer gave the fans at home Monday something they haven’t seen their team do since 2019: win a soccer game. Giovanni Aguilar’s game-winning goal against Portland in overtime stopped the losing streak at eight games.

This week’s Matador of the Week is Aguilar because of his game-winning goal.

His goal happened in the 96th minute off a deflection from the defender inside the penalty box, where he was able to make a few dribbles to score. His game-winning goal caught the eyes of the official NCAA soccer Instagram account.

Aguilar, a redshirt senior, hadn’t experienced a losing streak like that throughout his five years in the program. He said coach Terry Davila made sure that the team didn’t give up on the season.

“Keep working hard, it’s a process,” Davila kept telling his players.

CSUN soccer was put on hold during the 2020 season when the Big West Conference canceled both the men’s and women’s soccer season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a real shock to myself and my teammates last year,” Aguilar said. “Without soccer for a year, it gets you.”

Sports in many ways for athletes is an escape from things that could be happening in their lives. COVID-19 and the cancellation of the season allowed Aguilar to go home, but he didn’t get to do the things he loves to do when he was in Northridge.

“I like to hike in the Northridge area with my girlfriend,” Aguilar said.

He loves the outdoors, but in his hometown of Olivehurst, California, there are no trails or beaches to go to like the ones in Southern California.

“If you want to go to the beach, you have to wear your sweats or hoodie,” Aguilar said.

A year later, Aguilar and his teammates were finally able to practice before the season started. The excitement level was high, Aguilar explained. The thought of being with his teammates after a year was exciting for him.

Now that the season is in full effect, Aguilar can get back to doing his pregame routines.

“To me, it’s praying,” he said.

Aguilar also mentioned that his family and friends give him motivation every game. He looks to keep that motivation going as CSUN wraps up their non-conference play at Saint Mary’s College on Friday.