By John L. Braese
NYSSA – The soccer match on Thursday was not a state final. The players weren’t anticipating a college scholarship or a player of the year title.
Still, it was historic as two schools for the first time fielded a soccer team.
The Falcon boys of Four Rivers Community School dropped a 9-1 game to the Nyssa Bulldogs.
But the score isn’t the important detail. Two stories are more telling.
One is that the Falcons are now a part of Oregon high school sports. Coach Julian Carter fielded 11 players for a junior varsity team of combined boys and girls. Thursday was the first day in school history that players donned the green and black uniforms and represent the school.
“Half of this team have not played soccer since kindergarten,” Carter said. “These kids are just excited to play. We have a lot of growing to do, but take a look at the difference between the first half and second half. We played 100 percent better in the second half.”
Luis Garcia, team co-captain, echoed Carter’s sentiments. Garcia finished the game on the sidelines after injuring his calf, but maintained his excitement of playing for the Falcons to the end.
“Soccer is a fun sport,” Garcia said. “I really wanted to play football, but when I found out we were going to have a soccer team, I went out for it.”
Garcia came to Four Rivers as a sixth-grade student and plans on continuing on the team until graduation.
“I think we need to pass the ball better and today showed we need to have better conditioning,” he said. “Our goal this year is to win a few games.”
As coach, Carter is looking to fill that goal of winning a few games, but is having problems finding teams to play the Falcons.
“I have called every school within a three-hour radius of Ontario,” Carter said. “If there are any schools wanting to pick up a game, please call us.”
Currently, Four Rivers only has two games left in its season, both against Paisley.
“I think it is great sports is going at Four Rivers,” Carter said.
For the record books, Juan Trujillo will receive the distinction of scoring the first goal ever for the Falcons.
Also for the record books, the Bulldogs had scoring by Omar Tellez, Marcos Fuentes, Roberto Amezquita, Josue Lazo, Mario Gramajo, Josue Guerrero and Nathan Esplin. Javier Castro picked up two goals.
Amezquita will be credited for the school’s first goal on Nyssa’s new field.
Last season, the Dawgs played on a field at Alameda in Ontario and were listed as an independent team.
This year, the Bulldogs have the opportunity to take a state title as a member of the small schools Special District 4 league.
“We are taking it one game at a time, not looking all the way to a state title,” said Nyssa Coach Adam Martinez. “The kids are excited though to be in a league. It definitely adds weight to the work we do in practice. I can see them wanting it more,” he said.
In addition to playing league games that count, the Bulldogs are playing on the team’s home field.
For days prior to the home opener, Vice Principal Hector Martinez spent late nights ensuring the new field was ready.
Nyssa’s new home field features bleachers, printed rosters for fans, a scoreboard and a small concession stand.
For maybe one game only, Thursday night was a win for both teams no matter the score.
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