Lopez’s Zuniga named Herald/Star Utility POTY

2 weeks ago 19

WRITER’S NOTE: This story is part of a series highlighting the Brownsville Herald/Valley Morning Star boys soccer all-area award winners. The Herald/Star coverage area ranges from Brownsville to La Feria. Check back throughout the week as we reveal the Lower Valley’s other superlative winners and be sure to pick up a copy of Saturday’s newspaper for a complete list of the all-area winners. 

Brownsville Lopez’s Ramon “Chacho” Zuniga served as the focal point of the team’s offensive attack last season, with the then-sophomore netting a program record 39 goals en route to numerous offseason honors.

With team’s focused on marking Zuniga this season, the junior athlete was asked to take on a new role for the Lobos, moving to numerous positions throughout the year.

From playing at the forward spot one game, to starting at midfielder or defender in others, Zuniga did a little of everything this season.

His versatility on the field opened the door for those around him all year long, helping the Lobos reach the Region IV-5A finals for the first time since 2017.

For his all-around effort, Zuniga is the Herald/Star 2024 All-Area Boys Soccer Utility Player of the Year.

Brownsville Lopez’s Ramon “Chacho” Zuniga is the Herald/Star 2024 Boy Soccer All-Area Utility Player of the Year. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

“This year for me, I liked to play that different role,” Zuniga said. “As I become one of the older players on the team, I need to take responsibility in being the leader for the team. Being able to do everything around the field and doing whatever it takes to win shows the younger players what it takes. Sometimes you just have to play every position to help your team win.”

Zuniga didn’t just play multiple positions for the Lobos this year – the junior athlete dominated in all of them.

As a midfielder, he helped set up his teammates for numerous goals, commanding an offense which averaged 3.4 goals per contest.

Zuniga also assists on countless goals to his teammate Diego Guerra, who broke Zuniga’s school record of 39 single season goals this year by scoring 48.

Brownsville Lopez’s Ramon “Chacho” Zuniga is the Herald/Star 2024 Boy Soccer All-Area Utility Player of the Year. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

“There was no problem with me giving up that scoring role from last year,” Zuniga said. “If Guerra can do it better than me, then why not let him? I like taking on that playmaker role. In the end it helped us both and helped the team in making it far.”

Zuniga didn’t just assist on goals this year, however, also displaying his scoring prowess despite playing less time as a forward than last year.

The Lobos’ junior netted 16 goals during district play, the second-best mark on the team and tied for 16th among all RGV scorers during district.

Zuniga also added a pair of goals during the postseason, finishing the year with a combined 18 goals during district play and the playoffs.

Brownsville Lopez’s Ramon “Chacho” Zuniga is the Herald/Star 2024 Boy Soccer All-Area Utility Player of the Year. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

The Lopez do-it-all athlete could also be seen moving up as a defender when needed throughout the year, with the Lobos tasking him with marking some of the opposing team’s best attackers.

Zuniga enters his final season with a loaded resume already in tow, winning numerous postseason accolades.

Still, he’s set on adding one more thing to his name next year – state champion.

“Going into my senior year it is all about winning that state championship,” Zuniga said. “Just being the next Valley team to win it would be an honor. Seeing Hidalgo win it last year, it is motivating. Every year we’ve been improving. Our mentality has changed as we’ve gotten older. It allows us to be one step closer every time. Next year there is no other thing than getting to the final four and shooting for that state title.”

ivan@themonitor.com

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