Hornets inspire young players

AJ Taylor

Aspiring college soccer players came to Sacramento State Saturday to watch the men’s soccer team beat Humboldt State 3-0 in the last soccer game of the season. The young boys, ages 9 and 10, took pictures and got autographs from the Division I players.

Many of these Folsom Little Leaguers’ dreams were achieved when they met the players who stand in the position they one-day hope to be in.

After the game, the sight to be seen from the stands was that of smiling faces and small bodies storming the field. The boys, fully clad in their Folsom Synergy jerseys and Sac State hats, were excited to spend time with the NCAA Tournament first-round winners.

“I never met a college soccer player before today. I was super excited.” said Mathew Moura, forward for the Folsom Synergy. “I want to be a college soccer player.”

The Hornet men put on a show for their new fans. Two minutes into the game, forward Diego Marroquin gave the fans something to get excited about when he put the Hornets up 1-0 with a rarely seen bicycle kick for a goal.

“It’s nice for the boys to see a soccer game played on a full size field. At this age level it’s more important that they learn to pass and show great ball control,” said Folsom Synergy head coach Spencer Lowe. “Every one of them had eyes wide open, especially when you start off the game two minutes in you get a bicycle kick for a goal.”

Marroquin would score once more, making him one of the most popular players amongst the young fans.

“(Diego Marroquin) is my favorite player because of his awesome goals.” said Synergy defenseman Patrick Sanger.

Both teams took full advantage of the situation. The Hornets thrived off the energy the boys gave.

“They show us good energy and we like to give that back,” Marroquin said. “It always fires us up to see them supporting us.”

The boys took full advantage of meeting with the Hornets. Parents snapped posed photographs of the two soccer squads as well as candid photos of Hornets signing hats and jerseys.

More than a few young men came away from their day at Sac State with a hat or jersey packed with autographs.

“I think the boys will take the energy from the game into their practices and into the season,” Lowe said. “They were pretty pumped up. It’s great that Sac State allowed them to get on the field and get autographs; it means a lot to them.”

The Hornets saw this as an opportunity to be positive role models for their community. The smiling faces of the Synergy boys were met by smiles and enthusiasm on the Hornets’ end.

“It feels good to support the community,” said Hornet midfielder Gabriel Silveira. “It’s great that they were so excited to see us. We’re not big time players but I love that they were excited to meet us and they all wanted autographs.”

Some of the Hornets said the meeting with these “little guys” humbled them.

“We like to give good character and to be a good example for the little guys,” said Hornet midfielder Matthew Tellez. “It’s important to give back to the community and encourage them to work hard and stay motivated.”

Many of the boys have been playing soccer for five or more years, but had never seen a college soccer game. The Folsom Synergy, which plays year-round, hopes to come back to see the Hornets play once again in the fall.

The boys plan on practicing some of the things they saw the Hornets pull off. Marroquin’s bicycle kick was the team favorite, but some of the simpler tricks were just as impressive to boys.

“They did a lot of headers, it was really cool,” said Synergy midfielder Zane Lowe. “I’m going to use them in my next game.”

The boys also noticed the Hornets seemed to be masters of techniques on which they had been working.

“They did a lot of passing,” Sanger said. “They had awesome control of the soccer ball, they dominated the game. The ball was on Humboldt’s half of the field almost all game. They had really good teamwork.”

Seeing soccer played at the Division I level proved to leave a lasting impression on the boys. Many of them have a focus and appreciation for the sport, which they never had before.

“They all want to play college and beyond. Many of the boys now have dreams of playing soccer at Sac State,” Lowe said. “They all had a great time and can’t wait to watch the next Hornets game.”


You can reach AJ Taylor at [email protected]