Chivas keep acheiving in soccer
- Brian Liebenstein
- Madras Pioneer - Sports
Without much fanfare, a group of youth soccer players from Madras and nearby has played strongly in many tournaments playing as Chivas. The team is actually three teams in one as the youth on it vary in age enough to compete as three different age-group teams.
Comprised mainly of all-stars from the Hispanic community in the Madras area, Chivas has fared well in most of the many tournaments it has appeared in during the past four seasons.
Many Chivas players are American born, but there are also sons whose parents were born in Mexico or elsewhere scattered among Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 teams.
Chivas coaches teach players basic skills needed for ball control and movement toward the goal, but they also show the team a little about the style they want to play with.
"I have three or four persons help so we can show all the different ages what we want," said Antioco Garcia, a coach for Chivas.
Pedro Felix and Martin Zamora were two assistants at a recent practice. They also are helped by Mattias Reyes in getting the Chivas registered for the varied events they play in, Garcia said.
Gathering entry fees, birth certificates and other needed material to enter events about once a month during the late spring and summer keeps all the Chivas supporters busy.
"It would be nice to find more sponsors in the community, so we could enter more events," Garcia said. But, he added, he realizes a lot of companies are strapped with many charities they support. Getting money from parents and players and the sponsors they do have allows the Chivas to go to events like the Central Oregon Shootout played in Redmond, late in May.
Another tournament is coming up in Hood River at the end of July while an even bigger event in Portland is being targeted by the Chivas as their big challenge during August.
When possible, Chivas competes in not only the U14 category, in which it has excelled, but the U12 and U10 divisions too.
Working to get all the players used to practicing a whole variety of skills, Garcia said he moves players to different positions during practice and matches.
"We like to have our defenders come forward and get the chance to try to score when we get ahead," Garcia noted of just one way in which Chivas players obtain experience at many different positions. Covering the field with players who are familiar with what each other needs to do proves a decided advantage in many matches, said Garcia.
"There are some players who have played each position from forward to midfield to defense and goal keeper," Garcia said. But, because of their prowess playing near their foe's goal, Pablo Felix, who had seven goals in the four games of the tournament at Redmond, and Adrian Guitierrez, who added nine in the same set of matches, were left forward.
The mix of mid fielders and defenders can vary in any single match, said Garcia.
At the tournament in Redmond they were doing well enough in stopping the opponents and turning the direction of play around to earn 5-0 and 7-2 wins in their opening matches.
Having not only the scoring of Guitierrez and Felix to work with, but also the overall steadiness of Samuel Figueroa, Mervyn Garcia, Edgar Menez, Mervyn Garcia, Elmer Felix and Julio Ruiz, among others, provides Chivas balance in the attack and defense. While some teams will vary their set up, Garcia said he likes having four defenders combine with three mid fielders and three forwards.
Sergio Aguirre, Luis Flores and Julio Ruiz were other Chivas members noted by the coach for doing well in the tournaments thus far this year. Efforts by members of the different groups contribute to the team's success, Coach Garcia said.
At times a good player on a younger team shows so much skill they are deemed ready to help the group older than they are eligible for, said Garcia. He has moved up some 10-year-olds to the U12 team and even a 12-year-old to the U14 squad when they looked ready, the coach noted. Playing for an older team often provides experience that helps the player relax instead of get intimidated once they do become eligible for the older age group, noted Garcia.
While losing the championship of an earlier tournament to a Bend United team, Chivas played well.
They also stayed with a team from Eugene called "Southside Crew" that was stocked by Churchill High district players, before falling 4-2 in the finals of the Redmond tourney.
He expects even larger fields for the Hood River and Portland tournaments than there were at the Central Oregon events, said Garcia. There are often more than a dozen teams in each division of the Hood River tournament, which Chivas has been to a couple times in the recent past.
Developing players who can help Madras High, and especially ones that can play a lot of positions, is another of Chivas goals that Garcia noted.
"I'd like to get in some travel leagues or all-star leagues for the challenge, but right now our budget is pretty tight," Garcia said. With tournaments usually costing at least $325 and a lot of times closer to $400 to enter, there are only so many the Chivas can afford, he added.
Having the chance to do well in tournaments is costly, what with transportation and motel costs plus other fees and food needs added to the entry costs. It is all worth it in the end, though, concluded Garcia.