The Manteca Futbol Club’s 05 Rebels Red boys soccer team defeated the 04 Woodland Dynamite 4-2 in a friendly on Wednesday, April 28, at River Islands, but the result was secondary.
The two sides showed their quality in front of esteemed guests: Bruno Costa, the lead scout for the San Jose Earthquakes, and Matt Martin, a scout with the Soccer Syndicate.
“What an opportunity to play a game where you know your being watched by scouts for an opportunity for the next step up in your soccer career,” MFC president Joe Pires said after the match. “On the game, there was good pace, quality touches and passing, and the speed of the game was amazing. I saw very good football from both teams. There was also a very good-sized crowd in attendance, so that was exciting for the boys I’m sure.”
Impressed by the style of play and the individual talent, Costa extended an invitation to four players following the match to join an upcoming academy training session, including two Rebels Red players — Enrique Estrada and Audie Garza. Martin, who is connected to professional clubs and colleges near and far, hinted at more opportunities for others. Martin has followed the Rebels from Arizona to Vegas and back.
“This was a special opportunity,” Rebels coach James Burns told his team after the win. “It’s in the air, it’s in the atmosphere, and the buzz and the interest is there because of the work you’ve put in, the dedication you’ve shown to me, to one another and to this program.”
The Rebels dazzled against older competition.
Estrada, as fast as the winds rolling off the Delta, scored a pair of second-half goals, sparking the victory. Garza tallied the dagger, a bending shot from outside the box. Jorge Reyes opened the scoring for the Rebels with a penalty kick in the first half.
Goalie Christian Mayorga was special in the net, especially in the second half as Woodland pinned the Rebels in early and threatened to go ahead. Mayorga tipped a rocket shot over the post, and later made a diving stop to his right to preserve a 1-1 tie. The Rebels stabilized defensively, thanks to defenders Hayden Beier, Johnny Sanchez, Jorge Castillo, Amun Singh and Desi Gutierrez.
“I’m very proud of the boys,” Burns said. “This was always part of the plan — to put them in front of scouts, to put them on a bright stage. They were outstanding tonight.
“Before the game we talked about one thing: if they’re (the scouts) going to write one thing about you, let that one thing be about how hard you compete. How you are willing to make that run. How you are willing to challenge on the 50-50s. How you work for one another in every phase of the game. Tonight, the boys checked all of those boxes.”
MFC looks to take this momentum into the month of May. During that time, the club has many teams competing in NorCal Return to Play 2 games. The club will also host tryouts during the week of May 10. For those interested in joining the boys’ 2005 and 2006 red programs, please contact coach Burns for information on the open tryouts: 209-679-4831.