A pair of Tehachapi High School graduates, who rose to the top of the high school soccer ranks, will once again be reunited.
Just one year after skippering a 2012-13 Warriors' squad to an impressive 19-7-1 record, Jose Barajas spent his first year at Taft College, helping to pilot a predominately-freshman laden Cougars' squad to its second Central California Conference Championship in as many years.
Now joined by incoming 2014 THS graduate David Veszpeller, the pair will attempt to recapture their glory days in Tehachapi, which began when the two were just nine and 10 year-old teammates on a local AYSO team.
Taft head soccer coach Angelo Cutrona said he is excited, and is confident that the pair will play a large in leading Taft to its third straight conference championship this fall.
“I expect good things from these Tehachapi boys," Cutrona said. "Jose is a very good player and David is a big body with a great physical attributes, and has a ton of potential. I expect him to contribute right away."
Barajas, a 2013 THS graduate, was one grade ahead of his teammate, so it wouldn't be until the 2010-11 season that the two friends would compete together at the high-school level.
Their first two seasons together were tough, but it wasn't long before the two began to click, and in 2012-13, helped Tehachapi set school records for most goals scored, most assists and most points in a single season, with 77, 60 and 214, respectively.
During that same year, Barajas led the Central Section with 38 goals, many of which were assisted by Veszpeller, who led the Southeast Yosemite League with 17 assists.
Veszpeller, who is majoring in Kinesiology at Taft, is happy to be brought back together with his former teammate.
"I will be jumping into an unfamiliar environment,” he said. “So having a friend there will be nice."
But it's more than just a familiar face that Veszpeller is looking forward to. He is also excited about the chance of the two rekindling their chemistry on the soccer field as well.
"He knows how I play and is used to my style of play," Veszpeller said — a feeling Barajas shares.
“It’s going to be nice to have someone I played with before on the team,” said the mechanical engineering major. “David brings an additional strength to our team, and the team’s chances of winning another championship may just gotten better with his addition.”