PLEASANT HILL – Perhaps appropriate for achieving an “all-time” record, Adrian Arellano’s 27th goal this season – and 85th in his career – was as improbable as it was inevitable.
Standing in the mid-field circle to kick off Pleasant Hill’s next possession after a Central Linn goal that made the score 2-2 in the 62nd minute Monday night, Arellano stepped forward and simply struck a 50-yard shot that sailed over the goalkeepers’ fingertips and into the net.
“I was just kind of sitting there. I was like, ‘What can I do to help my team?’ And I look over to my left, and I see the keeper semi-off his line, and I was like, ‘Okay, I can hit this,’” Arellano said. “As soon as (the ref) blew the whistle I just wheeled around, and just hit it, and prayed it went in and it did … It was an amazing feeling.”
Arellano’s 50-yard prayer was answered and the crowd roared as the record fell. While Pleasant Hill lost the game 4-3, Arellano’s goal broke the all-time scoring mark of 84, a number shared by McMinnville’s Frankie Lopez (2003-06), Corvallis’ Edgar Monroy (2016-19) and Catlin Gabel’s Felipe Rueda Duran (2018-21).
“It feels amazing, really. It’s all thanks to my teammates and coaches,” Arellano said. “I just worked hard to achieve what I wanted. And now here I am.”
The hard work and dedication that Arellano puts in isn’t lost on his coach, who said he’s seen growth from Arellano in his four years at Pleasant Hill.
“I don’t know how many days that he’s just by himself, dribbling, playing with a ball,” said Ryota Sugitani, Pleasant Hill head coach. “That’s all he did. That’s all he wanted to do. So I really didn’t coach him on anything. I just told him to keep working hard, and be humble no matter how many goals he scored. And he did that.”
Even with not playing in a varsity match until the final four games of his freshman year, and a shortened eight-game Covid season, Arellano found a way the past two years. In fact, in 2021 Arellano nearly broke the single-season goal record of 44, ending his junior year with 40. This season he found out about the state record midway through the year, and his 27th goal of the season was the one that clinched it.
Arellano’s influence and recognition appears to be spreading. According to a story from girls head coach Chris Hammond, even the middle schoolers talk during PE soccer about who “is going to be the next Adrian.”
Arellano said he and his teammates talked about a special celebration for the record-breaking moment, but in the end decided against it.
“We just celebrated with emotion. That’s the best way to celebrate it,” he said.