Reigning District 22-5A Goalkeeper of the Year Uriel Santillian has parlayed his successes between the posts for Robert E. Lee boys soccer into a continuing career at the college level.
Santillian has signed with NJCAA program Louisiana State University-Eunice, which finished the 2019 campaign with an 18-2 record and an appearance in the national tournament where the Bengals were eliminated in the second round.
“I am really proud of Uriel,” REL head coach Jay Langlois said. “He is a very motivated individual. He worked hard the last two seasons to arrive where he is today with the opportunity to play soccer at the next level.”
Langlois said that the Bengals coaching staff were impressed with Santillian’s footwork and ability to play the ball out the back with his feet.”
“He has a good future ahead of him,” Langlois said. “I really look forward to seeing him play in college.”
The Bengals are a Division I team in Region 23 and play a number of games against Region XIV competition which includes a number of programs located in Texas. “It’s the best thing for my soccer career to be a better player and a person,” Santillian said. “I feel like I can evolve more as a goalkeeper.”
He chose the Bengals because of the competitive drive
“A Top 10 JUCO in the nation – and my coach is a competitor and that’s how I see myself,” he said. “He wants to win a national championship. He’s not trying to win just a couple of games. One of my goals in high school was to go to state and we came up short. So, I want to something like that in college and I feel I can do that there.”
Santillian admits he has come a long way in his development as a goaltender, a position he hasn’t played for long.
“My freshman and sophomore years, I wasn’t very good, but my junior year was my breakout year because I really wanted it, but I knew I had to work,” Santillian said. “I worked every single day and I evolved as a keeper. At the time, even my sophomore year, I really didn’t get goalkeeping like now.”
Santillian was able to watch the Bengals play and was very impressed.
“I am going to have to step up pretty well,” he said. “I am very confident when it comes to my hands and I can control the ball. ...This ain’t no high school soccer anymore.”