Player Of The Year: Alex Turkson
I saw many terrific players this season; Murrieta Valley’s Chris Sanders and Dale Howard, Riverside Arlington’s Eddie Morales, and Corona Santiago’s Ryan Felix, to name a few.
Each has their strengths. But not one controlled a game when the ball was at his feet like Moreno Valley Valley View junior Alex Turkson.
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound forward utilized a dominant first touch and terrific shot placement in scoring 15 goals this season from his role as a central attacking midfielder.
His play was a catalyst for the Eagles, who claimed the Inland Valley League title for the second consecutive season. Coach John Kush’s side advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs, where they lost, 2-1, to Claremont on Feb. 23.
Turkson scored multiple goals three times, had a hat-trick in a non-league victory over Vista Murrieta on Dec. 10, and scored goals in both of Eagles’ games against Claremont, the eventual 1AA champions. Valley View and the Wolfpack also played to a 2-2 draw way back on Dec. 2.
His pace is undeniable. In a 2-0 victory over Riverside Arlington on Dec. 13, Turkson dissected three defenders to receive a pass from teammate Daniel Roman and place a goal into the Upper 90.
“He’s a talented player,” is a phrase Valley View coach John Kush would repeat several times throughout the season. And while he was always quick in his praise for Turkson, and very clearly making an understatement, “He’s a talented player” was typically accompanied by a qualifier like:
“He’s difficult to defend because of his pace but he’s just starting to figure out the positioning part of the game,” Kush said after the Eagles’ second game of their home-and-home with Arlington on Jan. 26. It was one of the rare games in which Turkson was held scoreless.
Opposing coaches were found it far easier to be flattering.
“He’s an absolute handful,” Arlington coach Kevin Watson said. “There are times when he cannot be defended.”
“That’s a quality offensive player John (Kush) has; (Turkson) is going to give coaches a lot to think about,” said Riverside Poly coach Alex Figueroa after his salvaged a 1-1 draw vs. Valley View on Dec. 3.
I saw many terrific players this season; none which other coaches were so gracious with praise, and none as terrific as Turkson.