Paul Islas, Playing his way to the National Stage

Fresno, CA Fresno Fuego Midfielder Paul Islas remembers it like it was yesterday.

"Came back on defense to help and somehow we stole the ball right on the line. Elliot took off and I though you know I'd better follow him just in case something happens. And Look what happened. He got stuck somewhere and I was right there to take it off his hands and finish it," said Islas.

And it should be fresh in his mind. Islas' goal with just 12 seconds left in Bullard High School's Southern California Regional Playoff Game ... came less than three months ago.

That's right ... the 17-year-old Islas is still in high school.

"A lot of these guys have a lot of knowledge to give me about the game ... which is making me that much better and mature in the game," said Islas.

A member of the U.S. Youth National Team Pool ... Islas left his club team earlier this year to up his level of competition and gain exposure with the Fuego. His smooth transition between the two has impressed Head Coach Scott Alcorn.

"His footwork and how he glides on the field just transferred from what he was doing in high school to here. The speed at which he plays at -- he hasn't skipped a beat to be honest with you," said Alcorn.

Islas' speed and ability on the field will take him to nationally-ranked Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall. But that's only if Islas doesn't fulfill a life-long dream first.

"I heard that there's gonna be some open tryouts for like MLS teams like the Chivas USA or maybe the San Jose Earthquakes. Ever since I was little I've always want to play for the San Jose Earthquakes so hopefully I can maybe get something going with them," said Islas.

"He is that type of player that I think could play a year or two here with the Fuego and/or college and move on if things continue to progress the way they have," said Alcorn.

For now ... Islas has more accomplishments to add to his already decorated soccer career. And he'd like to do it … in his hometown.

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