FARMINGTON — Farmington soccer player Yosmar Ruiz wears No. 10 for a reason.
Traditionally, in soccer, the No. 10 jersey is assigned to the central attacking midfielder in soccer's most common 2-3-5 formation, which consists of two defenders, three midfielders and five forwards. As the 4-4-2 formation became more popular, one of the two forwards up front generally donned No. 10. Soccer greats like Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Pele all wore No. 10.
Ruiz, Farmington's team leader in points through 11 games this season, does the number justice as the team's unquestioned top playmaker.
"Yosmar's a typical No. 10, the guy's just a playmaker who creates," Farmington coach Byron Farnsworth said. "He has a very high soccer IQ, very intelligent when it comes to the game. When he's getting double teamed he finds other guys, and when he has one-on-one opportunities he really makes the most of them."
Farnsworth created a brutal nondistrict schedule for his team in 2016. Farmington's first six opponents are all currently ranked inside the top 32 in the state, according to MaxPreps.com. But that grind of a first month got Ruiz and the rest of the Scorpions properly prepared for the district schedule, which FHS is in the process of plowing through.
The Scorpions are 4-0 so far against District 1-5A opponents, and they've outscored them 34-2 during that stretch. Before last week's slate of games began, Farmington's record was an underwhelming 3-5. But wins over Aztec, Miyamura and Belen have them at a healthy 6-5 mark, thanks in large part to Ruiz's six goals over those three contests.
The junior, who looks up to Brazilian professional soccer player Neymar and models his game after the FC Barcelona forward, scored once against Aztec, four times against Miyamura and once during Saturday's win over Belen.
Ruiz said he went into last week's set of games with the same mindset he takes with him into every game, which is to position himself properly and go from there.
"I just get myself in good position so my teammates can find me with good passes," Ruiz said. "Then I try and finish them."
Ruiz already has as many goals this year — 19 — as he had all last season. He said he spent a lot of time over the summer practicing with teammates at the Farmington Soccer Complex, and he worked on his shooting during off days.
But he isn't a one-dimensional player. Although Ruiz admits he "likes the attention" that comes with scoring goals, he never passes up the chance to set a teammate up for a score, if that's what the defense gives him.
Farnsworth said he thinks Ruiz is such a prolific goal scorer, that his passing ability sometimes gets overlooked. The coach pointed to Ruiz's assist total during last week's games as evidence.
"I think he had just as many assists as he had goals last week," Farnsworth said. "He creates stuff because his goal scoring draws attention."
Farmington lost nine seniors from its 15-5-2, district-championship winning squad in 2015. Two of those seniors — Andrew Moss and Joaquin Gonzalez — were in the top five in points in the district. As a result, more of the offensive load has fallen on Ruiz's shoulders. Farnsworth said he told him before the season to put a bigger emphasis on setting up his teammates, and he believes his star forward is answering the bell.
"Yosmar's always done extremely well at the varsity level, but a big thing we asked of him this year is to make the guys around you better," he said. "That way you can focus on what you need to do when they kind of elevate around you."
With nine games left on Farmington's schedule and another district title well within reach, Farnsworth said Ruiz just needs to remember not to do too much and he'll be fine.
"For him, something we continue to press is 'Play simple, and then be special when you need to be special,'" Farnsworth said. "He obviously has the ability to be special for 80 minutes but sometimes he does too much. Really focusing on the details, doing the small things and picking his moments when he needs to be special."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
A closer look: Yosmar Ruiz
1. Favorite team?
2. Favorite athlete?
3. Favorite food?
4. Favorite show?
5. Favorite subject in school?
6. Least favorite subject?
7. Biggest fear?
8. Do you play any other sports?
"I like playing basketball, but I don't for the school."
9. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?
"Buy my parents a new house."
10. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
"Just listen to music and focus."