LAFAYETTE — Over the summer, Centaurus soccer coach Lee Stanley was out of town when his phone started blowing up.
Stanley was getting inundated with voicemails and texts about 'some kid' who showed up for the first days of the Warriors offseason drills, an incoming freshman who was impressing the assistant coaches with his high level of ability.
That kid was Christian Nunez.
Stanley had seen Nunez play before and hoped that the soccer prodigy would be a part of his program when he got to the ninth grade.
"I used to help run a recess program through Trebol (Soccer Club) with the elementary school around here," Stanley said. "And when he was in the fourth grade, I saw him out at recess playing and I remember thinking 'I hope this kid comes to Centaurus.'"
Even at a young age, Nunez had visions of pursuing his soccer playing future through Trebol, notably with the Colorado Rapids developmental squad and then later professionally.
When that fell through — and by no means is that vision of playing for them gone — Nunez decided to don the red, white and blue of the Warriors and hasn't looked back.
Through the first nine matches of the season, Nunez has scored 11 goals, including two Thursday in a 4-2 win over Longmont, and has a point in all but one game. To date, Centaurus is 7-2 overall and 2-1 in the highly competitive Northern League.
"I was just hoping to make varsity my freshman year," said Nunez, who scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 shutout of Erie. "These guys respect me a lot and I respect them too."
The respect has come from his ability on the field. His on the ball talent, footwork and ability to make a defender look bad are at the highest level.
"He came in with the talents he has, and I honestly think the game is a little slower for him," Stanley said. "He is able to see things that a lot of other kids his age are just not. His skill is one of the main reason why everyone was so quick to accept him."
The Warriors as a whole have welcomed Nunez — who has been playing the game since he was 3 years old and said, "I loved it ever since" — with open arms and there was an immediate bond with senior Miguel Ramirez. The two have been a cohesive unit, with each helping the other in their own way.
Ramirez has taken Nunez under his wing and made the freshman feel at home, while Nunez has helped accentuate the leadership ability in Ramirez.
"(Christian) is a big part of this team, he's like a mortar. When things seem to be going bad, he'll have a genius play and get us back in the game," Ramirez said. "He's really good, but he's still a freshman and he's going to get better."
The Warriors dropped their first Northern League match of the season last week in Greeley to Northridge — and did so without their regular starting goalkeeper. They bounced back to beat Longmont.
The next three games will be the make-or-break game for the Warriors. They get both Silver Creek and Niwot next week before taking on league leading Greeley Central the following week.