MIDLAND Julio Vargas hasn’t been with Sockers FC for very long.
Yet, in the short amount of time he has been in the Permian Basin, the Dallas native has already racked up five goals and one assist in only four games.
He can now add National Premier League Soccer Player of the Week to his list of accomplishments after being honored last week.
As far as he’s concerned, it’s just an individual award.
“Our goal is to be national champions,” Vargas said. “That’s what matters the most.
“The individual award is there to motivate me to do better and stay on top of everything and keep working hard and be winning games and be winning championships.”
Vargas has wrapped up his second week with the club, joining late because he was finishing up school at West Texas A&M, receiving his bachelors in accounting.
“Coming in, I knew it was going to be competitive coming into this squad,” Vargas said. “But luckily, my work ethic and working with the players has been easy to get to know everyone.
“It’s been a very competitive atmosphere and that’s what I’ve always wanted. I think the program is good.”
Vargas was the leading scorer for the Buffaloes with 23 points (14 goals, nine assists) during the 2018 season, helping West Texas A&M advance to the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals.
Sockers FC head coach Johnny Clifford (who also coaches at St. Mary’s University) knew exactly what he was getting in Vargas after seeing him put up an assist in the Buffaloes’ 4-1 win over the Rattlers in September of last year.
“I saw him play this past year against St. Mary’s and I knew how good he was,” Clifford said. “He was very good and someone that I wanted to bring in.”
Vargas is the first Sockers FC player to earn the NPSL Player of the Week award this season.
“Julio has been playing well and he deserves to get that award,” Clifford said.
He’s been playing very well. He’s worked hard and he’s put the ball away. He’s brought a great dynamic to the team. We went after him very hard to get him here. He’s been one of our better players.”
But while Clifford knows there’s to more to expect from Vargas, he’s liked what he’s seen in the short amount of time from his forward.
“He came in straight away and before he came in, he kept telling me ‘don’t worry, I’m going to be working hard and training,” Clifford said. “He said ‘I may be missing the first four games but I’m going to be fit and ready.’ He’s not quite where he needs to be but he’s getting there.”
As far as getting acclimated with the team, Vargas said his teammates have helped him get up to speed.
“The team has helped me very much with communicating with me with what they want,” Vargas said. “The coaching staff has been very welcoming. We have a bunch of hard working guys. We all have the same goals of wanting to play at the same level. Every day we train hard and it’s been very fun. We all enjoy playing and that’s most important.”