Lifelong friends reunite on the SDSU soccer field | Information Center

The Aztecs have everything to gain from two longtime teammates who always seem to know what the other is thinking.

“I think the genuine relationship they have is rooted in honesty. It allows them to have everyone’s best interests at heart on and off the pitch.

In 2018, Tristan Weber was named Gatorade Male Soccer Player of the Year in California. In 2019, the prize was awarded to Blake Bowen. Both were graduates of San Clemente High School.

Now, after dressing together more than 10 years ago as United FC youth in Orange County, Bowen and Weber are back together as Division I student-athletes for the University. of San Diego State.

“It’s very unique to have players playing together for so many years and then playing together in college,” the head coach said. ryan hopkins noted. “It’s almost more often to see brothers doing it.”

In addition to playing together at United FC for seven years, the duo appeared together on two San Clemente All-Star Teams…for baseball.

“Our relationship off the pitch started when we were very young,” Bowen, a year younger, said. “Our families were very close and still are today. We carpooled to practice, had dinner afterwards and hung out at each other’s house on the weekends.”

All of those hours together as kids have paid huge dividends on the pitch for the natives of Orange County.

“We always seem to know where each other is on the pitch without looking at each other and where we’re going to pass the ball next without having to say a word to each other,” Weber said. “It’s something I’ve never seen in my life, except with us.”

The friends played together at United FC at 13 and 14, then went their separate ways when the team disbanded. Bowen joined West Coast FC and Weber went on to play for LA Galaxy Academy and then the prestigious United States Men’s National Team residency program. They won’t play on the same team again until Weber’s senior year at San Clemente High, when he scored 15 goals and provided 22 assists to win the Gatorade Player of the Year award and help the Tritons advance to CIF Southern. Section Division I semi-finals.

The following year, with Weber at the University of Portland, Bowen contributed 18 goals and 15 assists and helped the Tritons finish the year on a 21-game unbeaten streak that included the South Coast League, CIF -SS Division 1 and CIF Southern California Regional. securities.

Upon learning that Bowen had won the Gatorade State Player of the Year award, Weber was thrilled.

“I was thrilled for him,” Weber said. “I found myself even prouder of the award after not only one of my teammates, but someone I consider one of my best friends, won it.”

A highly regarded rookie, Weber committed to the University of Portland where he would spend his freshman season, helping the Pilots reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament, before deciding to transfer. Bowen was closely monitoring Weber’s recruitment and how it went.

“[Weber’s recruitment] allowed me to see what it was like and how to go about it,” Bowen said. “He and his father told me to choose a place where I could be happy without football.

The Webers also introduced Bowen to the SDSU coaching staff, setting up their 2019 reunion.

When Weber decided to leave Portland, SDSU was one of the first schools in mind. It was closer to his family in Orange County, he knew the coaches, and the opportunity to reconnect with Bowen was enticing.

“Blake being at SDSU impacted my decision,” Weber recalled. “I wanted to transfer to SDSU because of the relationship I had with [assistant coach] Josh Hilland Blake going there certainly made my decision easier.”

Similar in stature and style of play, they both provide new Aztec head coach Ryan Hopkins with positional versatility. When asked to break down each other’s acting, they ooze compliments.

“Blake is the most competitive player on the court,” Weber said. “He’ll beat you down the line or inside almost every time. He’s very quick and will beat you one-on-one on offense or defense. He’ll beat you on almost any head and on any any ball. He’s a very good finisher inside the box as well.”

Bowen on Weber’s strengths: “His long balls and pings are very accurate. He has a wicked shot, great IQ on the pitch, speed with the ball and fantastic first touch. He’s great on kicks stopped and can use both feet at a high level. Off the pitch he has a great work ethic and leads by example.”

“I think the genuine relationship they have is rooted in honesty,” Hopkins said. “It allows them to have everyone’s best interests at heart on and off the pitch.”

In their first season together at SDSU, they combined to play nearly 2,000 minutes and start 20 games. They both think they will play a bigger role for the Aztecs in the upcoming matches.