Francisco Angel took advantage of his Hispanic heritage. It’s not uncommon or unusual for bilingual players on the soccer field to speak another language to give them an edge on their opponents.
Angel, his brother Manuel and cousin Victor Angel often spoke Spanish on the field. But more often than not, they didn’t have to say a word. Familial ties were strong enough that the Angels didn’t need any words to communicate.
“We just knew,” Francisco Angel said. “We knew where each other would be on the field. We knew where we liked the ball to be placed and we could anticipate each other’s moves. It’s just been that way since we were little. We’ve always played together.”
West Creek’s soccer team benefited greatly from the chemistry that was inherent in the Angels and spread to the rest of the team. Francisco led the way for the Coyotes and after leading his team with 20 goals this past spring, Angel has been named The Leaf-Chronicle All Area Soccer Player of the Year.
The award is voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff while the All Area team is selected by the area athletics directors.
“It’s nice to get the honor because our team put in a lot of hard work this season,” Angel said. “I think the award could go to the whole team because we all contributed to our season and the coaches did a good job with us this year.”
West Creek started the season 13-0 and was tied atop the district standings with eventual champ, Dickson County. The Coyotes would finish with a brutal string of games down the stretch, finishing 15-3-2 and losing to the Cougars in the district tournament semifinals.
“We beat teams, this year, that we haven’t beaten in our team’s history,” Angel said.
“It was all kind of new to us so it felt a little odd to be the team that everyone was looking at for a while. Usually it’s always Rossview or Clarksville High or Dickson. For it to be us, it was kind of strange but it was nice to be that team.”
Angel was exceptional this past season on his way to the district MVP award. He added four assists in addition to his 20 goals.
“He has great vision,” West Creek coach Seth Ramsey said. “He reads the game well and he’s great with the ball. He can do special things with it and he can score from distance which makes him even more difficult to check up.”
Angel says his strength is when the ball is in the air.
“I like using my head a lot,” he said. “I try to be aggressive in the air and make sure I win those challenges.”
Yet, despite the strong year and Angel’s solid play, there was room for improvement, according to the recently graduated Coyote.
“I could have played better,” he said. “Especially late in the season. Everything comes to an end but I didn’t like the way it ended for us. I couldn’t have competed harder in the tournament.”
Angel says he takes a lot of tips from watching soccer matches on television and has been keeping up with the European Championships currently airing on ESPN. But while most his Coyotes teammates like FC Barcelona, Angel sides with Real Madrid.
“I think I may be the only one on the team,” he said about his loyalty to Real Madrid. “Oh well.”