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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Kai Masudi, Manteca soccer
AOW Kai Masudi

It hasn’t taken Masudi long to prove himself at the varsity level.

Just five games into the season, the freshman midfielder has emerged as the leading scorer for the Buffaloes (2-3), who are looking to make a turnaround under first-year coach James Burns after six straight seasons of four or less wins.

“Kai has a maturity to his game that comes from great coaching at the club level and a high level of competition,” Burns said. “He was always going to be an impact player for our varsity program, but I've been impressed with how fast he's acclimated.
Going forward, I look forward to his development as a player who can control the middle of the pitch on both sides of the ball, and finding his voice amongst a senior-laden roster.”

Masudi came through last week to deliver Burns his win, scoring two second-half goals as the Buffs downed Ripon Christian on the road 3-1 on Nov. 21.

Manteca won again Monday, vanquishing reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division V champion Venture Academy at home, 4-3. It marked the first time since 2019 that the Buffaloes have won back-to-back. Masudi was pivotal, netting a second-half goal that gave them a 3-2 lead. It’s his fourth goal in three matches.

“His goals have arrived at the right moment, showing his ability to rise when his team needs him the most,” Burns said. “That's not always easy as a freshman, but he's no ordinary freshman.”