Centennial's Yetso puts up a wall that opponents seldom penetrate

October 06, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Centennial goalkeeper Brock Yetso is made of flesh and blood, not of brick and mortar. But his teammates call him "The Wall" because of his ability to protect his area so well.

No. 1 Centennial (4-0-2) has allowed only three goals. Of those, only one is attributable to a lapse by Yetso.

"He lost one in the sun against Bel Air, and the others were either because of a defensive mix-up or were kicked in off our player," Centennial coach Bill Stara said.

A national-team player and All-County selection his freshman season when the Eagles won a state title, Yetso was a dominating figure who expected a long, successful high school career.

Instead, he missed most of his sophomore season with a knee injury (torn posterior cruciate ligament), and lost most of his junior season to school disciplinary action taken against him and two other players.

"Missing those two seasons helped me build character and gave me a better understanding of life and soccer -- that failure is part of success," Yetso said. "I would like to have played all four years. But I'm not bitter."

Stara said, "He's run the gauntlet and has matured nicely. He's one of the top goalkeepers I've had, a total package for a high school goalkeeper. He reads the game well, organizes players, has athletic ability and can make the big save. He's special because he can get to the ones that other good goalkeepers can't get to."

Stara is so confident of Yetso's ability that he used a gambling strategy against then nationally ranked Walt Whitman. Centennial led 1-0 at halftime and went into a defensive shell in the second half with five midfielders.

"I might not have tried that with a less experienced goalkeeper," Stara said. Centennial held on to win, 1-0.

Yetso played especially well in a 1-1 tie in the season-opener against C. Milton Wright. "He saved two or three shots that were guaranteed goals," Stara said. "I don't know how he stopped them."

Yetso (6 feet 2, 180 pounds) was knocked nearly unconscious during the second 10-minute overtime, but continued to play.

"A ball was sent through and I came out to clear with my feet," Yetso said. "I was elbowed in the head and got back up and played the rest of the game. I blacked out after the game and couldn't remember anything that happened after the elbow. At the hospital they said it was a mild concussion. It was strange. Nothing like that had happened to me before."

"Within 30 seconds of his being hit he made a tremendous save," Stara said. "We sat him out a few days at practice, but he has the courage of a lion."

"Sometimes I wonder why I play this position because people kick balls at you and want to hurt you," Yetso said. "If you don't like pressure and getting hit I wouldn't recommend it."

He's a member of the under-18 national team and participated in two training sessions with it in San Diego over the summer. He also played with that team in Austria last Easter. His soccer traveling itinerary has included junkets to France, Portugal, Ireland, Wales, England, Canada and Mexico.

Yetso began playing soccer at 6 and goalkeeper at 8 and became serious about that position at 10.

Mike Curry, who was his first club team coach, is still his personal goalkeeping coach. Curry directs the Umbro Goalkeeping Academy in Columbia -- one of eight in the country.

"I've learned the most about goalkeeping from him, and he also helped me through last year by telling me that everyone is going to have a setback in his life. You have to learn from it," Yetso said.

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