MANTECA — Maribel Mendoza and her 18-year-old son Eduardo “Eddie” Aguilar Mendoza started each day with a text.
“Good morning, m’ijo. I love you,” she would write him.
He would reply: “Good morning, ma. I love you, too.”
The two made it a habit to text and chat every day since the Sierra High School graduate made his big move to Surprise, Arizona to attend Ottawa University, where he earned a partial scholarship to play soccer.
“He was always a momma’s boy,” she said at her home in Manteca.
On the morning of Sept. 10, Mendoza sent a photo of Aguilar’s baby brother to him but she received no reply from him. Instead, her daughter delivered the news that Aguilar had been in a bad accident.
Aguilar died in a single-car accident about 2 a.m. that day. His childhood friend and college roommate, Ramon Rojas, was also in the vehicle. Rojas survived but suffered a broken back, eye socket and nose. Mendoza, in tears, said her son fell asleep while driving home. He was not under the influence and had his seat belt on, but his vehicle veered off the road and crashed into a pole, she added.
Aguilar, who won best boys soccer player for the inaugural Best of the Record All-Star Preps earlier this year, grew up in soccer fields watching his sister, Chely Aguilar, play. He laced up his on cleats by age 4 and had been playing soccer since.
“If he wasn’t home he was out playing soccer,” Mendoza said.
The last weekend of July his family — mom, two sisters, his stepdad, his stepbrother and his 19-month old brother — accompanied him as he drove to his new home. Mendoza said her son was very excited to attend college. It’s all he talked about and he often joked about being on his own.
He had eagerly packed as much as he could fit into the two vehicles and trailer they were driving: all his clothes and shoes, pots and pans given to him by his grandma and an aunt, an old set of…