For Kicks, A Cougar Could Represent US National Team

Soccer Player Close To Sports Goal

Arianna Carlos, Features Reporter

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Courtesy of U.S. Soccer Development Academy / Sacramento Republic Academy

By Arianna Carlos

Weston Ranch Freshman Erik Centeno (’20) is one of only 24 American student athletes trying out for the U-15 US National Soccer Team.

If selected, Centeno, who is training at the US Olympic facilities in Chula Vista, would join the roster in the national team’s next game across the Atlantic Ocean in Italy.

Only 20 of the 24 players invited to train this month will make it onto the squad. The players who survive the scrimmages in Southern California will suit up in the red, white, and blue.

A factor in Centeno’s selection is his participation in another team connected to our region’s only professional soccer team, the Sacramento Republic FC. Centeno plays forward on the Sacramento Republic Academy’s U-14 team. According to the Sacramento Republic Academy’s Web site, the academy has sent at least 10 athletes into the national soccer organization’s pipeline.  

Centeno felt it was necessary to go since he’s always had a passion for soccer, a sport that he’s played since age 4.

“Why wouldn’t I go? It’s a chance to be on a national team,” Centeno said, “and play [in] Italy.” If selected, Centeno would join the team in international games April 25 – May 1 against U-15 teams from Slovenia, Russia and England.

US Soccer Digital Content Director Logan Buckley said already Centeno has achieved something special.

“He is competing at the highest level that boys his age can in the country,” Buckley said.

The freshman said that he is auditioning for the forward position, as well as three others.

Centeno’s older brother, Omar (’16) was a midfielder for Weston Ranch varsity team that won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Soccer Championship in 2014.

Beyond the “normal medical papers” Centeno said the primary requirement to make the team is “practice.” Buckley agreed.

“At this point, it’s more about development than winning,” Buckley said.

Centeno will return to the Central Valley Saturday to compete with Republic Academy teammates against members of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. That game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Davis Legacy Complex, 26375 County Rd. 105D in Davis.   

 

 

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