Llivichuzca Led with Pitch Passion as Valley Soccer Captain
From essentially the first time he could walk, Deryck Llivichuzca’s moving feet were always accompanied by a soccer ball. It was that passion and devotion to the game that has allowed him to take some big steps forward for both himself and the Valley Regional boys’ soccer team as one of its leaders.
The Warriors senior midfielder and co-captain played soccer throughout his entire upbringing and youth, after being inspired by the play of his father within the sport. This past campaign, Deryck emerged as a sound squad steward and helped elevate the future of a young Valley program to four wins on the season in 2023.
“Growing up, seeing my dad play soccer really inspired me to play and see how far I can go, while pushing myself further than anyone on a team,” says Deryck. “A big thing for me has been attitude in the sport and how you are towards the game. Also I think controlling yourself on the field is big, and something other players do not take into consideration. Having a good mindset each day is also key.”
Once first stepping onto the pitch upon the Valley Regional campus as a freshman rookie, Deryck dealt with some internal intimidation. Yet through interacting and thriving with colleagues his senior, he gained some belief in himself that helped wash aside any doubt while opening the lines of language with his fellow players.
“I have gained a lot more confidence in myself now versus when I started here,” says Deryck. “I was scared coming in as a freshman and playing alongside and against kids older than me. But over time, that experience helped me gain confidence and communication skills. On the field, my dribbling and passing has gotten increasingly better. I am always making the long ball and putting the ball at the foot of the guy I want to pass to.”
Being between both ends of the field in the middle portion of the action, Deryck loves the gauntlet and being the first ignitor that lights up the scoreboard for the Warriors, while simultaneously getting right back to help on defense when a change of fortune and possession occurs.
“The endurance factor of the position can be tough with a lot of running, and there really are no breaks,” Deryck says. “I love making a contribution to starting a whole play. My job is always to be around the ball. It makes me happy to know I helped start a play that ends up as a goal.”
Deryck adds that being elevated as a captain this fall, his main objectives were to foster a friendly environment for all comers, regardless of grade or skill and experience level with soccer. It was mission accomplished, as the bonds are still bountiful long after the final horn on the season.
“We had a young team this year, and [senior co-captain Liam Welch] and I did a good job I feel of putting everyone in place in a way, but kept good connections with everyone and had no hurt feelings,” says Deryck. “We had trouble connecting though in the beginning of the year, and would yell at each other after mistakes were made. But we improved on that and learned to tell each other that it is OK to make errors. The freshmen will do fine going forward, and we have a good amount of sophomores coming back next year.”
Valley Head Coach Mick Fearon explains that as the main veteran on the field, Deryck helped stretch the offensive end of the turf with his diverse and dynamic passing abilities.
“For this year's squad, Deryck had been the most experienced varsity player, becoming a starter midway through his sophomore season and a full-time player last season,” says Fearon. “His passing over short and longer distances were his biggest strengths. His long, diagonal deliveries changed the point of attack for the team and were important in putting the opposing team under pressure.”
As he looks to persist on the pitch at the collegiate level, Deryck has garnered a great deal of perspective on life when it comes to working with others and making brotherhoods that go beyond the game.
“I have understood how big it is to have good connections with a group,” says Deryck. “A lot of friends helped me this year by telling me I was doing a good job as leader and captain. Will Ung [freshman] was a great guy and teammate, and he helped teach me that as long as you are doing the best you can for the team, the rest of the team will appreciate it. I am hoping to walk on to a Division III school to play soccer. But until then, I will continue to work on my skills constantly and hope for the opportunity to come along.”