Medina scores hat trick in final regular-season game

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Between the first and second quarters of the San Diego Sockers’ game Mar. 3 against the El Paso Coyotes, 1977 Valhalla High School graduate Anthony Medina announced his retirement at the end of the season.  The game at the Valley View Casino Center, also known as the San Diego Sports Arena, was the Sockers’ final game of the 2017-18 regular season, and Medina scored three goals in his last regular-season game.

Between the first and second quarters of the San Diego Sockers’ game Mar. 3 against the El Paso Coyotes, 1977 Valhalla High School graduate Anthony Medina announced his retirement at the end of the season.  The game at the Valley View Casino Center, also known as the San Diego Sports Arena, was the Sockers’ final game of the 2017-18 regular season, and Medina scored three goals in his last regular-season game.

“For me, it’s special to go out on a positive note,” Medina said.

Medina scored both the Sockers’ first goal and the team’s final goal in the 10-3 win over El Paso.  With 7:24 elapsed in the game, he redirected a pass from Raymundo Contreras after positioning himself in front of the net.  The Sockers took a 7-1 lead 56 seconds before the end of the third period when Medina, who was positioned on the left side, took a pass Contreras directed forward and shot the ball accurately into the net.

With 6:24 remaining in the game Medina was by the left post when he received a pass from John Sosa.  Medina placed the ball into the net for a 10-2 Sockers lead.

In Medina’s final shift on the pitch, he left with 1:27 remaining in the game.

“It was an emotional game for sure, but I’m happy that we got a win,” Medina said.

Sockers coach Phil Salvagio said this was a nice wrap-up.

“This is a way to go out, go out big,” he. 

Medina turned 39 last month.  

“The past couple of years, I evaluated after the season to see how my body felt,” he said.

This year his evaluation resulted in the decision to retire.  

“At 39 I think it’s a good time,” he said. “I’m still playing at a pretty good level.”

Despite his impressive showing in the final game of the season, Salvagio said that level of performance is hard to maintain.

“You can’t do that every day,” he said.

Medina played in nine games during the 2017-18 regular season and had eight goals along with two assists. He ended his regular-season career with 93 goals and 57 assists.

At this point, Medina said he has no definite plans to continue with soccer in a non-playing capacity.  

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” he said.

Medina and Kraig Chiles are the only Sockers who have played all nine seasons since the team was reinstated in 2009.  The Sockers played in various leagues from 1978 to 1996 before ceasing operation.  A second Sockers franchise began play in 2001 and was terminated in 2004.

The victory before 5,218 spectators gave the Sockers a 19-3 record for the regular season and clinched second place in the Major Arena Soccer League for playoff purposes.  The Sockers, who won the Pacific Division, begin the three-round playoffs against the Tacoma Stars and host Tacoma on March 10.

“I committed the last ten years of my life to this program and it’s been an honor to play for this franchise,” Medina said.  “It’s been an incredible journey for me.”