Christmas for the Carson High boys soccer team came a little early - August to be exact.
That's when Evan Sanchez, a soccer standout from South Tahoe High, moved into town and joined an already talented Senators team.
Sanchez, who has scored nine goals this season, leads the Senators (11-2-3) into their opening round 4A playoff match at home at 6 p.m. today against Reno (5-8-3).
"I moved into town two weeks before school started," Sanchez said prior to Monday's practice. "My mom got a job in Carson.
"It was hard for my friends in Tahoe. I still keep in touch with them. I'm not the only senior not playing there this year. I think there are five or six seniors that didn't go out for the team there this year."
Sanchez landed in a good situation. Carson was already going to be a playoff team. The addition of Sanchez made the Senators a very formidable opponent.
"The first day of practice he was the one face I didn't know," Carson coach Eric Masters said. "I remember Zach Bruce coming up and telling me he was the new kid from South Tahoe. It was obvious very quickly that he could play. He's a good kid."
Masters said it didn't take long for Sanchez to impress his teammates. The fact that he could play so well made his transition much easier, according to Masters.
Sanchez has been happy in Carson.
"I've gotten much more support here (academically)," Sanchez said. "I'm happy to be here. My teammates have helped me on and off the field. I have their back on and off the field, and they have mine. I hang out with most of the guys on the team."
Masters said Sanchez's soccer IQ is off the charts.
"He definitely gives us another element that we didn't have," Masters said. "It's just knowing the game; recognizing things. He knows when to push the ball and he knows when to slow it down. He has a lot of composure."
What does Sanchez thinks he brings to the Senators?
"I bring heart and passion for the game," Sanchez said. "Everybody knows I'm there for them. I have trust in my teammates."
Sanchez also brings an offensive-minded thought process to the game whether he's in the midfield, up front or in the back. He brings nice, versatile skills.
"He's helped a lot, especially in the midfield," teammate Jason Martinez said. "He's more of an attacker."
"We've used him up front some," Masters said. "When we beat Wooster 5-0, he scored a couple of goals and hit the post once or twice."
Masters said matchups, the opponent and size of the field have all played in his decisions in terms of where to play Sanchez.