By MIKE SHAFFER
For the Star Beacon
Santos Robles is not real sure about what his plans are for after graduation. “I’m thinking maybe about going into criminal justice,” Robles said. “I think being on a police force would be a really awesome job.”
Anyone that knows Robles on the soccer field may find that a little ironic. Soccer officials, especially, may not exactly view Robles as the peace abiding citizen.
“Santos is an emotional, passionate player, we try to keep him away from the officials as much as possible,” Geneva coach Joel Dixon said.
Robles put his passion in different terms.
“I don’t behave very well when I’m on the field,” he said.
That being said, if Robles, the Coaches’ 2012 Ashtabula County Player of the Year for the 2012 season, could secure anything as well as he did the net for Geneva this year, he’ll do just fine in the law enforcement profession.
Robles has been in charge of defending the Eagles’ goal for the last three seasons. This season he helped the Eagles to a record of 8-8-2 and an appearance in the sectional final. Santos has been named first-team All-PAC and also made the first-team All-Greater Cleveland team this year.
For Dixon, what’s most impressive about his star goalkeeper is the consistency he’s provided. In his career he’s never lost a game to a school from Ashtabula County, in fact he’s never even given up a goal against one.
His record against the county schools on Geneva’s schedule over the last three years is 9-0. Since taking over as the Eagles starter his sophomore yea,r he’s piled up 331 saves and has a record of 30-18-2 with 22 shutouts.
“His record speaks for itself, he’s made some of the best saves I’ve ever seen from a goalie”, Dixon said. “Santos is a guy, that you know when he’s out there you don’t have to worry about the back end. You got eleven guys on the field and 14 on the bench and you know you don’t have to worry about who your goalie is. With Santos, you know what you’re going to get, not just this year, but since he was a freshman when he was my JV goalie, he’s been solid.”
Robles can remember playing soccer as early as age 3, but it wasn’t until he was 9 that he put on the goalkeepers garb. The pressure of being his team’s last line of defense is something he enjoys. It’s also something drives a passion in him.
“I really want to win,” Robles said.
“He’s passionate because he wants to win as bad as anybody that has every played for me,” Dixon said. I really appreciate his love for the game.”
Brian O’Dell coached Robles in 2010 when he made his first varsity start for a team that went 13-2-1 that season and advance to the district tournament, where it would lose 1-0 in a shootout against Mentor.
“My son was the keeper when Santos was a freshman. After he graduated, Santos took over his sophomore year and he was unbelievable,” O’Dell said. “As a keeper, he has unbelievable skills, he has unbelievable hands and he’s so smart. He’s always talking, he controlled the defense. He was highly competitive; he didn’t ever want to give up a goal. He was tough on himself. He would get really upset if someone scored on him.”
Robles’ athletic career is not finished at Geneva. He will be back on the mound as a pitcher when baseball season starts next spring. The ending of his scholastic soccer career is “bittersweet.”
“I’ll really miss it,” he said.
Robles plans on attending college next fall and is hopeful of continuing his soccer career.
Shaffer is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.