Diaz a big scorer, hometown hero

Joe Stuart, For the Review

For Linfield Wildcats midfielder Moi Diaz, ’18, the road to success on the soccer pitch from high school to college was a short one, only about a mile and a half along Highway 99.

That’s the distance from Linfield College to local McMinnville High School. Diaz, a McMinnville native, attended MHS and excelled at soccer there.

He was a four-year varsity letter winner there, and scored 15 goals and recorded 10 assists as the team captain in his senior season. Now, he excels at soccer just five minutes away at Linfield.

Diaz made a difference from the moment he stepped on the field as a Wildcat. He started in 12 out of the 17 matches he played in, and ended up leading the team in scoring with seven goals.

“It was unreal,” said Diaz, “I didn’t expect it at all. We only scored 30 goals last season, so seven isn’t big, but me leading the team, it felt great.”

He continues to be a big scorer for the Wildcats in his sophomore campaign. He currently is tied for first in goals with Brian DeGrandmont, ’17. They both have six. Diaz also has dished out three assists this season, giving him 15 total points.

But Diaz doesn’t like to take credit for goals. “It’s mostly on the team, I can’t say I’m the one doing all the work. Luckily I’m the one putting the goals in the net, but other players are doing the same thing,” he said. “You’ve got Dylan Leathers, you’ve got Brian DeGrandmont, and it all just comes down to teamwork.”

The rest of the team understands it’s teamwork too, and that Diaz is the man to pass to, as he has taken 62 shots this season.

Linfield was lucky to add Diaz to their squad last year, and most of that credit can be given to men’s soccer head coach Chuck Bechtol, who coached Diaz at McMinnville High School.

Diaz credits Bechtol as the number one reason as to why he chose Linfield. “I got persuaded by Chuck, honestly. He coached me since my freshman year, and he’s kind of been like a father figure for me, he’s been there for me, and he’s really the main reason I chose Linfield,” said Diaz.

“I was very fortunate to spend a lot of time with him back at the high school and now two years here with him,” said Bechtol.

“Obviously I’ve gotten to see him become a better soccer player, but he’s really grown and matured as an individual and that’s been really fun to watch,” he said.

Since Diaz is only a sophomore, he still has a lot of future left as a Wildcat.

It is obvious to any follower of Linfield soccer that he will be a key part of the team the next two years with his footwork and scoring ability.

But there are other factors. “It all depends on who comes out, who goes out, how the conference is set up,” said Bechtol. “But I expect Moi to be a prominent part the next two years.”

“How big of a part is entirely up to him and how hard he wants to work,continue to get better and improve his game.”

With Diaz already poised to set a new career high in goals scored, it’s likely that he will continue to get better, and continue to work hard in front of his hometown fans.