Porter goalkeeper Acevedo signs with UTRGV

Brownsville Porter goalkeeper Isaac Acevedo has always been passionate about soccer, and as a young boy he dreamed of playing for the Porter Cowboys soccer team.

Acevedo’s passion and goals drove him to work relentlessly at his craft. His dedication turned into a strong career with the Cowboys and helped him reach another major milestone.

On Monday, Acevedo signed his letter of intent to play soccer at the NCAA Division I level for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

“It feels very good because of all the hard work I put in. But this was not only me,” Acevedo said. “I would like to thank my mom, most importantly. Coach (Jose) Espitia and Coach (Eddie) Buentello have been there for me. They always helped me through the hard times, all the ups and downs. My teammates helped me a lot, and without them I wouldn’t be here.”

Espitia, Porter’s coach, praised the mental growth Acevedo made from his freshman to senior years. He called Acevedo, a two-year captain, a good leader on and off the field. Espitia said Acevedo’s ability to read the game and guide teammates from the goal will be big assets at the college level.

“I’m really proud of him. It’s a great accomplishment for him, and we’re really excited to see what the future holds for him,” Espitia said. “He’s excellent with his feet, he’s got strength with his feet and hands, is really good in the air. He’s got everything to be able to compete for a spot at a Division I program. We knew he had the potential, and we honestly feel he hasn’t reached his full potential. With proper training, proper guidance and the exposure he’ll get at UTRGV, he’s going to grow to be even better.”

Buentello, Porter’s goalkeepers coach, said the coaching staff had known since Acevedo was a freshman that he had the talent to keep playing after high school. Buentello credited Acevedo’s discipline and commitment for making him a great player, teammate, brother and son.

“He’s been trying very hard to be successful for his family, and he’s going to accomplish that,” Buentello said. “As a coach, I’m just humbled to have had the caliber player that he is, and be able to motivate him to continue moving forward and conquer his dreams. I’m extremely happy for him. This is just the beginning for him.”

Acevedo was a key part of a stingy defense that helped the Cowboys reach the Region IV-5A final. His efforts earned him the District 32-5A goalkeeper of the year award, a first-team all-state selection from the TASCO and a spot in the TASCO state senior all-star showcase.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic making recruitment difficult, Acevedo had a number of options. But his familiarity with the UTRGV program and the proximity to home made him confident that becoming a Vaqueros player was the right move. He’ll be studying criminal justice.

“One of the main reasons (I chose UTRGV) is because I’m here, close to family and friends, and most importantly it’s a DI school and I had more knowledge about the program,” Acevedo said. “I already know the teammates, I’ve played with some at academy levels, so it’s good to be able to play with them more.”

As he reflected on his senior “year of the mask” season with the Cowboys, Acevedo said he was most proud of the way he and his teammates battled adversity and challenges brought on by the pandemic to get Porter back to the Elite Eight. His Cowboys career meant a lot to him, and now he’ll continue representing his school and his team at the next level.

“One of my favorite achievements was the regional final. Even though we didn’t win, we never gave up. There were times when people doubted us, said we weren’t going to make it, but we never listened. We played our game and that’s all that matters,” Acevedo said.

“I’ve been coming to Porter games since I was probably 6 (years old). I always said I wanted to play for Porter and represent the school,” he added. “This is a great school, and the soccer program is one of the best in the Valley. It’s something you have to defend, the honor, and you have to earn the respect. This year I felt we did earn the respect of every team, not only because we won, but because of how we respected other teams.”