Two more members of the original “Frankford Crew” are headed to the NCAA, with Indian River High School seniors Johan Cordoba and Arturo Salas announcing plans last Thursday, May 18, to play soccer at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington.
The longtime teammates will join fellow senior Mac Smith as NCAA-bound members from the group that started playing together during their days at Frankford Elementary School, under Smith’s father, Duncan Smith, who would go on to coach them to two State Cup finals while playing for the River Soccer Club’s Express.
“I had no idea where it would lead,” said Cordoba of his early days of playground soccer. “I want to say thanks to Coach Duncan. Without him, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Cordoba and Salas have also seen their fair share of success throughout their high school careers, both of them as key contributors on the Indians’ 2015 state championship team and three straight Henlopen South division and Henlopen Conference titles during their varsity careers.
While the fell just short of a second state championship after the infamous “Gone with the Wind” game against Tower Hill in the finals this past fall, Cordoba was named one of five NSCAA Regional All-Americans in the region during his senior campaign, also receiving Top XI All-State honors and First Team All-Conference honors, and earning a spot on the Blue-White All-Star team.
He was also named the No. 1 player in the Henlopen Conference after racking up 20 goals and 17 assists for the Indians as a forward this past fall.
Next season, he’ll look to continue that production while trying to earn a starting spot for the Lightning as a freshman.
“I’ll be looking forward to playing there as well,” said Cordoba. “I have to just keeping working harder every day to make sure I stay at the top of my game.”
As a starting left back for the Indians the past three seasons, Salas has put together his own list of accolades, including both All-Conference and All-State honors, while solidifying the defense and holding opponents to a collective 16 goals during the 2016-2017 regular season.
“They’re two guys that we’ll miss,” said IR head coach Steve Kilby. “Johan is the guy that we look to to create and get things started for us in the attack, and to lose a left back of Arturo’s caliber is a huge thing to overcome. Left backs like Arturo are very hard to come by.”
Salas will also battle for a starting spot next season amongst a veteran back-line at Goldey-Beacom, planning on graduating and going on to a career in law enforcement, with interest in becoming a corrections officer, while Cordoba will pursue a degree in criminal justice.
Looking ahead to the future, however, both soon-to-be graduates couldn’t help but also look back on the past and the people who helped them go from a couple of kids kicking around a ball on the playground to state champions and collegiate athletes.
“I just want to thank all my friends, family and coaches, starting from Coach [Nate] Kortvelesey during my JV days to Coach Kilby in varsity — I just want to thank them for everything they’ve done to help me get here,” said Salas. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”