WRITER’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of stories highlighting The Monitor’s boys soccer all-area award winners. The Monitor’s coverage area ranges from Mercedes to Roma. Check back throughout the week as we reveal the Upper Valley’s other superlative winners and be sure to pick up a copy of Saturday’s newspaper for a complete list of the all-area winners. 

Three RGV teams reached the regional finals in their respective classes this season, two of which resided in Hidalgo County.

The Edinburg North Cougars (Class 6A) and Progreso Red Ants (Class 4A) each reached the fifth round of the playoffs this past season, tied for the furthest of any UIL boys soccer team in 2024 with Brownsville Lopez.

Leading the charge for the two program were Elias Moran at Edinburg North and Damian Magallan at Progreso.

Magallan and Moran are The Monitor’s 2024 All-Area Boys Soccer Co-Coaches of the Year.

“First, I want to thank my family for all their love and emotional support during the most difficult moments of my career,” Moran said. “I feel extremely honored to receive this prestigious recognition. I am overwhelmed by the gratitude I feel towards all those who have supported me throughout my career.”

“First and foremost, I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me by the people at Progreso,” Magallan said. “They showed confidence in me and gave me the chance to be there. We worked hard and this season was a dream one for each of us. We’re just happy with the thing we were able to do in Year 1.”

Moran’s journey with the Cougars goes well beyond his time as a head coach, spending his prep days as a part of Edinburg North’s team from 1999-2002, including a district championship season in 2001.

His coaching career with the Cougars began just over 10 years later, taking the reins in 2013. Since then, Moran has helped establish Edinburg North as one of the RGV’s most consistent soccer program, qualifying for the postseason every year except his first.

Current Edinburg North head coach and former player Elias Moran. (Courtesy Photo)

“I feel very fortunate to work at Edinburg North,” Moran said. “Leading this team has always been the biggest dream of my life, and I believe that the love I feel for the shield and colors of this school is the reason that motivates me to inspire these young people to have the discipline and to fight for their dreams every day.”

This season proved to be Moran’s best to date, winning his third district title as head coach of the Cougars while leading the team to the Region IV-6A finals for the first time since 2017.

The Cougars finished the year with a 16-7 overall record, including playoff wins over San Benito (4-1), San Antonio Jay (3-1), Edinburg Economedes (4-1) and San Antonio Johnson (2-0) before falling the fifth round to Class 6A state semifinalist Austin Vandergrift.

Edinburg North head coach Elias Moran raises the team’s Region IV-6A runner-up plaque after playing against Austin Vandergrift in the Region IV-6A championship game. (Sixtum Pictures | Special to RGVSports)

“This recognition not only represents the invisible work that as a team we put on and off the field every day, but also of the dedication and effort of my soccer boys and my amazing coaching staff,” Moran said. “The success we have achieved together would not have been possible without their valuable contribution and commitment. I’m very grateful for them.”

Over at Progreso, Magallan entered the scene this past offseason, moving over from Valley View after 15 years with the program.

Magallan’s first year with the Red Ants was far from a rebuilding project, leading Progreso to a 14-0-0 mark during district en route to the 31-4A crown.

The Red Ants dominated on the pitch nearly every time they stepped onto it, outscoring opponents 157-19 this year, including 91-5 during district.

Progreso’s Damian Magallan is The Monitor’s 2024 All-Area Boys Soccer Co-Coach of the Year. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

“Imagine after 15 years working at Valley View and taking them to the highest level, coming over to Progreso, which is a lot smaller school,” Magallan said. “It was different from me. Still, you get close to the kids and you work with them daily. Getting the opportunity to work with these kids and have the season we did, what else could I want?”

Progreso’s dominance continued through the early rounds of the playoffs, outscoring their first four opponents 19-3 en route to a Region IV-4A finals berth.

The Red Ants march came to a halt during the fifth round, however, losing to eventual state runner-up Boerne 1-0 despite being short four starters.

Progreso finished the year with a 27-1-2 overall record, their lone loss coming to the Greyhounds during their final game of the year.

The Red Ants are just getting started, however, with nearly all the team’s starters set to return next year.

Progreso’s Damian Magallan, second from left, poses with his team after playing in the Region IV-4A title game. (Victor Dominguez | Special to RGVSports)

“It was a dream season,” Magallan said. “We missed some opportunities or luck, whatever you want to call it. We’ve talked to the kids going forward. This season is out of our hands now. Since I got there though, I’ve said this is a four-year project. We’re going to keep working harder to reach the goals we set out from Year 1. We want to get that state title.”

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