His uniform didn't say "Jason" on the back, but opposing coaches, players and fans didn't have to be on a first-name basis to be able to pick out the Thousand Oaks boys' soccer star with the Brazilian roots.
They just had to watch Jason Leopoldo play.
"It just comes second-nature to me," said Leopoldo, who travels to Brazil once or twice each year to visit his father's family.
While there, he works out with a professional club in hopes of honing his skills and, someday, realizing his dream of playing soccer professionally.
"It's a great place to play," said Leopoldo, whose paternal grandmother is Brazilian and grandfather is Portuguese. "Soccer's life there. It just runs in my blood and I have a passion for it."
It is a passion that played out well at Thousand Oaks, where Leopoldo led the Lancers to back-to-back Southern Section Division II titles, the latest a co-championship March 5 when they tied Los Angeles Loyola, 1-1, thanks to a second-half goal by Leopoldo.
"He's a pretty typical teenager, but then you put him on a soccer field, and he stands out. He's something special," Thousand Oaks Coach Mark Tietjen said of The Times' boys' soccer player of the year.
"Soccer is all he does, and some kids might burn out on that. But not Jason. He lives soccer, he watches it, he studies it."
The work paid off during the recently completed season. He was selected the Gatorade state player of the year in February.
Leopoldo has a 3.92 grade-point average and was chosen the 2004 National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America/Adidas high school scholar athlete of the year.
Leopoldo, who will attend UCLA, got equally high marks on the field.
Despite missing the first seven games of the season because of club commitments and a hip injury, Leopoldo finished with 14 goals and seven assists in 16 games, including five goals and one assist in the playoffs. His efforts helped the Lancers (15-9-2), who were missing other club players, rebound from an 0-7 start that left them unranked for most of the season and unseeded for the playoffs.
"It was kind of a weird season," said Leopoldo, who transferred to Thousand Oaks from West Torrance after his freshman year. "But we knew we were good, that we had good core players."
Leopoldo, a 5-foot-6 senior forward, was the centerpiece.
"He carried us offensively in the playoffs," Tietjen said. "We were looking at him and how he'd respond in the playoffs, when it came to the big games, and he did it."
Leopoldo's most significant goal came in the final match, in which Thousand Oaks trailed Loyola, 1-0, after being dominated in the first half. Leopoldo carried the ball down the right sideline in the 63rd minute, speeding through two defenders to get off a shot from a nearly impossible angle while wide of the right post. His bullet went into the far upper corner of the net.
"I didn't know it was in until everyone was celebrating," Tietjen said. "It looked like it had not gotten in."
Leopoldo knew it had.
"For some reason, I play pretty well at the end of the season," he said. "Having an impact on a big game is just awesome."
The co-championship was vindication after the Lancers had to settle for second place in the Marmonte League, in part because of a 1-0 loss to Calabasas in which Leopoldo missed a penalty kick.
"It was like, 'What are you going to do, now that we have not won the league?' " Tietjen said. "He knew he was the man. He knew he had to lead the team."
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The Times' All-Star Boys' Soccer Team
F; Gregorio Cibrian, Temecula Valley; Sr.
Explosive, fleet-footed striker finished with 29 goals, including eight in the playoffs as the Golden Bears advanced to the Southern Section Division II semifinals.
F; Jeff Clark, Esperanza; Sr.
Division I offensive player of the year scored 14 goals on headers and finished with a school single-season record of 34 to go with 12 assists.
F; Kenny Horne, Damien; Sr.
Scored four goals in five playoff games and finished with 16, including eight game-winning goals. Also had six assists. He will play at Cal State Northridge.
F; Jason Leopoldo, Thousand Oaks; Sr.
Player of the year headed to UCLA after adding a second Division II title to those he won in the past year with club and Olympic development teams.
M; Nixon Valle, Saddleback; Jr.
Smaller than team-leading scorer Alex Moreno, the Roadrunners' playmaker was nonetheless more active and involved, finishing with 16 goals and 20 assists.
M; Andrew Sarega, La Mirada; Sr.
Suburban League MVP wants to go back to Romania to play professionally in his native country -- and he just might be good enough to do it.
M; Andreas Andrews, Loyola; Sr.
Center midfielder boasts exceptional vision and touch that resulted in 11 goals and 29 assists. He will play at Holy Cross next season.
D; Tony Vela, Damien; Sr.
Sierra League MVP had six goals and 10 assists as a defensive midfielder in his first season with Division I champion Spartans following three years of basketball.
D; Julian Robles, Damien; Jr.