NewsTribune Athlete of the Week: Mendota’s Johan Cortez

Cortez had four goals in three wins, including game winner against Hononegah

Johan Cortez

After being a secondary scoring option on the wing for Mendota as a freshman last fall, Johan Cortez moved to attacking center midfielder this season.

The sophomore has been a key cog in the Trojans’ offense and has helped Mendota to a 12-0-1 start.

Last week, he scored two goals in a win against Kewanee, had a goal in a win over Geneseo and scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Hononegah.

“Johan had another fantastic week for us,” Mendota coach Nick Myers said. “He’s been creating a lot of scoring opportunities for us this year in then midfield. He has the ability to drive at guys with pace and create. Johan hit a huge, clutch set piece free kick very late in the game to give us a 1-0 win over Hononegah.

“His confidence is really growing over the last few weeks.”

For his performance, Cortez was voted the NewsTribune Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Sullivan’s, Grasser’s Plumbing & Heating and Central Bank.

Cortez answered some questions from NewsTribune sports editor Kevin Chlum.

When did you start playing soccer and how did you get into it?

Cortez: I started playing soccer in kindergarten when I was 5 or 6. I started in a local soccer league when my mom signed me up and coached me. I was already into soccer because my dad played soccer growing up and always watched games at my house.

What do you enjoy about playing soccer?

Cortez: I enjoy everything about soccer, but my favorites are the intensity/speed of the games and playing with my close friends.

What makes you a good soccer player?

Cortez: I think my soccer IQ and my speed with the ball are my best attributes that make me a good soccer player.

What is your favorite sports memory?

Cortez: My favorite sports memory is winning the Monterey international tournament in Chicago with my soccer club.

If you could get advice from anyone, who would it be and why?

Cortez: I would get advice from my dad. He has always helped me and coached me and trained with me outside my house, and I’ve always appreciated it. He’s helped a lot in my development and my becoming what I am today.

Do you have any nicknames?

Cortez: My friends like to call me Moha because at one practice it was windy and my hair looked like it was in a mohawk, and I was doing really good.

With what food could you win an eating contest?

Cortez: I think I could win a taco-eating contest. I love tacos. Whenever we have them for lunch, I always end up eating three or four.

What is your most played song recently?

Cortez: I would say my most played song is “Sometimes” by Juice Wrld.

What is a TV show or movie you never get tired of watching?

Cortez: I never get tired of watching Premier League games.

What are your thoughts on your individual performance last week?

Cortez: I think my individual performance was pretty good. I worked hard and got the results I wanted with the game-winning goal Saturday.

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