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International roots sprouting for Dons

12/14/2015, 7:01pm PST
By Glae Thien

Soccer players with overseas influence make Cathedral Catholic a favorite


Cathedral Catholic’s Kian Vidarsson learned the game from his father, who played soccer in Iceland.

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The player who scored the golden goal to lift Cathedral Catholic High to the Open Division championship last season got his start in soccer as a mascot for Newcastle United.

Milo Barton, then 3 years old, put on a small replica of the English team’s uniform and became a miniature version of the Premier League players, including his father, Warren, later a coach, talent evaluator and Fox Sports soccer commentator.

“It’s funny looking at it now,” the younger Barton said. “My dream of playing like my dad is turning into reality. Being a mascot was the start of it, a little taste of what I wanted.”

Just as Barton may have been born to play soccer, the same may be said of his Dons teammate, Kian Vidarsson, who was on the soccer fields of San Diego by age 3 through the influence of his father, Vidar, who played the game in his native Iceland.

“My dad passed it on to me,” the younger Vidarsson said. “I just love to play soccer. It’s my passion. Everything about it, I love.”

After Barton moved with his family to this country at age 10, he soon become acquainted with Vidarsson in club soccer. Now they are third-year varsity members and senior team captains for the Dons with Barton at forward leading the offense and Vidarsson spearheading the defense.

It was a combination most evident when Cathedral topped Torrey Pines 2-1 in overtime for the San Diego Section Open Division title on Barton’s close-range shot eight minutes into the extra session.

“As an attacker, I just want to have the will to score, knowing I can have a chance if I want,” said Barton, who moved front when he came to the U.S. “Basically, I have the outcome of the game on my shoulders in a way.”

Barton finished with 18 goals last season for the Dons (18-5-5), who also reached the SoCal Regional Division III semifinals after missing out on the playoffs the previous year.

“Milo has the ability to change a game,” Cathedral coach Nate Hetherington said.

“He has that special ability to penetrate the defense with his speed and his tactical awareness.”

Vidarsson typically took on the opponent’s top attacker on defense, plus he used his jumping ability to score a goal in each of the two games leading to the section final for six goals on the season..

“Kian is very, very difficult to beat one-on-one,” Hetherington said. “He’s amazing in the air, and his timing is impeccable. He’s also very gifted technically.”

Only four players return from last season’s senior-heavy team that jelled in the second season under Hetherington, a former standout at San Dieguito. Still, the Dons promise to be a contender again this season.

“We’d love to win it again, of course,” said Barton, who has committed to UC Santa Barbara.

“We just plan on giving it our best effort. I’d say the juniors and sophomores on the team have grown into young men.”

With Barton and Vidarsson setting the tone.

“Definitely, instead of being able to rely on other guys, we have to step up into that leadership,” said Vidarsson, who is considering his college options. “That’s including the roles we already had as well.”

After all, they were born to play the game.

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