Three years ago, Marco Pineda played much bigger than his size as a freshman at Estancia High. Pineda, then 4-foot-10, made sure no one pushed him around on the soccer field.
Size didn't matter to Pineda, who proved it as a defender with gritty play. The frosh-soph coach raved about Pineda to the head varsity coach, Robert Castellano. One day, Castellano came out to watch Pineda, before he walked away with one question.
"Could Pineda perform on the varsity level with his tiny size?" Castellano said.
He never found out the following season. Pineda didn't come out for the team as a sophomore, missing the spring and summer off-season programs.
Pineda missed a lot more, his father, Leonardo, the man he said he hasn't seen since second grade.
Pictures are all Pineda has of his dad, who lives in Mexico. The reason Pineda said he hasn't seen him in person is because the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency deported his father, an undocumented immigrant.