When Jose Gallegos
enrolled at Central Catholic (San Antonio, Texas)
, his main goal was to win a state championship during his career.
It didn't take long for Gallegos to check that accomplishment of his list. In fact, Gallegos has played such a big role in his team's success, he's nabbed three state titles in his first three years.
Gallegos has always been a team-first player who knows when he needs to light up the scoreboard to help Central Catholic win games.
After scoring 12 goals and six assists as a freshman, Gallegos tallied 16 goals and seven helpers the next season. He had his biggest year to date as a junior, coming through with 21 goals and nine assists.
"I just remain focused, confident in my abilities and I always look to improve every year," Gallegos said. "I talk with my coach about improving my stats and goals and assists and just overall help the team."
Central Catholic boys soccer coach Edward Cartee has watched his star player continue to develop each season on the pitch.
"He was a transformative player even as a freshman," Cartee said. "He's started every game that he's played for us and was a game-changing player even his first year. But I think last year and this year his ability to deal with the attention that he has received from defenders because it's no longer a secret that he's really talented and it's important to try to stop him.
"Despite his opponents' efforts to do that, his goal and assist numbers have gone up every single year even though he's being double-teamed and triple-teamed."
Gallegos exudes great work ethic, is extremely humble and has the desire to continually improve his game, noted Cartee.
"He might come off the field having been the best player on the field and I'm having to encourage him that he had a good performance because he feels like he could have done better," Cartee said. "He's always striving for more."
Opponents are taking notice of Gallegos' ability and so are soccer followers nationwide.
Gallegos is one of 250 high school juniors to earn the distinction Allstate All-American and will be considered for participation in the Allstate All-America Cup on July 31 in Orlando. The contest will be broadcast on ESPNU and participants will be honored later that night at halftime of the MLS All-Star Game.
Former Major League Soccer and U.S. men's national team members Taylor Twellman and Brian McBride will join the likes of former U.S. women's national soccer team standouts and Olympic gold medalists Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain to coach and mentor these promising high school players at the event.
"I think it's a great opportunity for me," Gallegos said. "I'm very proud to be in this situation. Obviously, I've got to thank my coach, people around me in helping me get here. I'm just excited to go to Florida and play in that game, hopefully."
Gallegos has been a dynamic attacking center midfielder in Cartee's offense. His coach said he has very quick feet, is strong, has the ability to get out of tight spots and is magnificent at keeping close control of the ball. He also knows how to finish.
"A lot of players would not even see a scoring chance in spots on the field where Jose sees it, and he takes it and has the ability to convert it," Cartee said.
Added Gallegos: "I wouldn't say I'm very fast but I'm quick off the start. I'd say I'm a good passer. I make good movements off the ball. Defensively, I'm not poor but I can get the job done."
For the past three years, Gallegos has had the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Development Soccer Academy through the professional soccer team, the San Antonio Futbol Club. The Elite Training Program has allowed Gallegos to train once a week with the professional coaches.
Through the academy, the coaches for San Antonio FC have certainly realized what a great player they have in Gallegos. The coaches approached Gallegos about having him play for the team. He quickly accepted.
"It was incredible, honestly," Gallegos said. "I was happy at that moment when they approached me with the contract. We were talking about it beforehand but I actually signed it was like, wow, I didn't really believe that I signed a pro contract."
Gallegos isn't receiving any money to play for San Antonio FC, so he's able to keep his amateur status.
"Super proud of him," Cartee said. "He's definitely going to be a pro long term. His goal is still to go to college and the nature of the deal is preserving his NCAA eligibility was important to him and I think it was awesome the club is doing that for him. He's going to be training with the pros every day all of next year, and I think that's something that's going to accelerate his development that much more. He needs that stimulation and that challenge."
Gallegos, who signed a one-year deal, made his pro debut on May 14. The 17-year-old got into the game about the 55th minute and was surprised with how many touches he got. He was also able to rip off a couple shots on net.
"I wouldn't say I was nervous," Gallegos said. "I was just excited to get on the field and see what it was like to play amongst players that have been playing pro for a while."
Along with playing with San Antonio FC, Gallegos is exploring where he wants to attend college. He'd like to play for a solid college program before heading back to the pro game.
Gallegos has been in touch with High Point, Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Wake Forest, Georgetown and SMU. He's being patient and isn't rushing into a decision.
While he weighs his options for college, he'll continue to play at the pro level, learning from some of the top soccer players in the country.
"I've been surrounded by players who have been playing at the top level at SAC, so I think that puts me in a better situation than other players that don't have that opportunity," Gallegos said. "It's just a way for me to better myself and become a better player."