Girls’ Soccer: ‘Persevered’ Despite Challenges

by Ismael Angulo & Ivan Rosas

Pueblo Girls Soccer 2019-2020

Pueblo High School’s girls’ soccer team kicked off their season last semester, on Nov. 25, at a tournament at Amphi High School in which the team advanced to finals; unfortunately, they lost. However, our fearless lady Warriors did not let that stop them.

Despite hard work, the team had a disappointing record of 5-7.

Senior Liliana Orduña said, “Our season went well, but we still could have improved a lot throughout the season.”

Throughout this challenging season, the girls’ soccer team worked continuously on becoming more competitive and communicative; they also improved upon their chemistry as a team.

Another player, senior Jasmine Marin, said, “A lot of people doubted us, but we persevered,” said Marin.

Coach CelisaRamirez has been coaching this team for two years, and she hopes that the girls learned from their mistakes and also from their many strengths.

She said, “Missing practices really affected us, although the girls who did show up for practice showed the most strength on the team.”

“I hope I can continue to create fun memories for the girls next year,” said Coach Ramirez. “I don’t want any of them to believe in giving up.”

She said, “Next year, I would like to see a small squad and more dedicated players.”

Boys Soccer: United To The End

by Palmira Henriquez & Daeyalina Moreno

The Pueblo’s boys soccer season is over, and all of those long hours of practicing are over. The boys practiced everyday from 3:30-5:30 p.m., and with a new coach, Mr. Dillon Cox said, the team felt like they were going to go in a new direction this year.

Coach Cox said, “We had a lot of fun together, and despite the losses this year, I’m looking forward to the team’s future.”

However, despite all of the practice, the Pueblo boys’ soccer team end up with a season record of 1-10-1. ­­­­­­­

Senior Everto Morales, Jr. said, “The team’s weakness is that when we lost, we put our heads down and started wanting to quit the team. We needed to be stronger.”

However, despite weaknesses, the team showed many admirable strengths.

Senior Ramon Estrella, #14, part of the team’s defense, said, “One of the team’s biggest strengths was our chemistry.”

Adding to that, senior Sergio Olivas, a forward, said, “The team carried a good attitude! The guys were always ready to play, and they all had a strong mentality.” He added, “The boys felt that they touched the ball more this year, and they enjoyed the new coach’s fresh attitude about keeping us positive as well as his new vision of our team.”

Although the season is over, Olivas said, “From the beginning, it was obvious that we had a very slim to no chance of entering the playoffs, but there’s always next year for the underclassmen.” 

On Feb. 6, the Warriors played their last game against Palo Verde. Although Pueblo lost (the score was 0-4) on Senior Night. Olivas said, “Even with a losing season, we were like a family—from beginning to end.”

Boys’ Soccer Reined State Champs

By Kiana Gonzales

Pueblo Boys Soccer Arizona State Champions 2016
Pueblo Boys Soccer Division IV Arizona State Champions 2016

On Saturday, February 13, Pueblo’s Boy Soccer Team won the Arizona State Championship game against Buckeye High School in Glendale, Arizona, a deserving accolade for a team that has been triumphant all season long—ending with a record of 10-3.

Junior Alex Urtuzuastegui (and the son of the team’s coach), who played center mid-fielder, said, “This championship game was, by far, the toughest game of the season. I think that some of us really didn’t expect Pueblo to win, so when we did, it was a great feeling.”

The final score of Pueblo’s triumphant game against Buckeye was 2-1.

Coach Francisco Urtuzuastegui said, “I’m really happy for the guys, and it’s inspiring for the incoming guys.”

Senior Efren Robles, who played striker-forward, said, “Everybody on the team did an awesome job for the whole season. Our team members were able to bond early on, and we never lost that cohesiveness. This was our team’s most important strength.”

Throughout the season, the team was challenged several times due to players staying eligible, due to their academics.

Coach Urtuzuastegui said this group of young men has been playing for several years together, so they weren’t challenged by not knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, 10 of this year’s team members are seniors, so he doesn’t have any predictions for next year’s season—he just hopes that the team members have the same amount of compassion and enthusiasm as this season.

“I believe that our team next year will have a lot of potential to earn the right to go to State,” Coach Urtuzuastegui said.

Alex Urtuzuastegui said, “I’m excited for next year. I’ll be a senior, and I’d love to be able to graduate from Pueblo with another state championship for our school and for our team.”

Senior Mario Rodriguez, a mid-fielder, said that part of the magic this year came from the coach’s leadership.

“He [Coach Urtuzuastegui] constantly motivated us all throughout the season,” Rodriguez said. “He said that he almost became a pro soccer player himself, so he definitely knows this sport better than anybody.”

Girls’ Soccer Remain Defiant, Push Themselves To State

Yasmine Saenz El Guerrero Pueblo 2015

By Yasmine Saenz

Pueblo Girls Soccer Team 2016
Pueblo Girls Soccer Team 2016

Despite all kinds of setbacks this season, Pueblo Magnet High School Girls’ Soccer Team ended the season with a very impressive record of 9-3. Throughout the season, this team had their sights on making it all the way to State. And, at last they did, on Tuesday, February 2.

However, the girls lost to Youngker High School in Buckeye, Arizona with a dramatic loss of 3-2.

Mr. Ricardo Hinds, who has coached the team for the past two years, said, “Even when players struggled with their grades, as well as all of the numerous injuries and drop-outs the team experienced, the team had a core of 12-13 players who committed to the program. It is always tough during the second half of the season with no substitutes, but we finished strongly.”

After the loss at State, Coach Hinds added, “I am very proud of all of them. They all contributed at some point to the success of this season.”

Although the team lost in the first round of State playoffs, the team still felt like overall champions. The team persevered despite a lot of adversity throughout the season. Many players quit and several became ineligible due to their academics.
“Even though we started off a little rough this season, the team really pulled together and stayed a family,” junior and co-captain Anna Verdugo said.

“Considering all of the obstacles we faced from the beginning of the season, going to State was truly a miracle. Having a great coach and committed players kept us together like glue, especially towards the end of the season.”

“In the end, we were still together,” said senior Yulissa Tarango, another one of the four captains this season. “Somehow we made the season work despite all of the challenges that we experienced.” She paused and added, “We became stronger as a result and learned from our weaknesses. Hopefully, some of the younger players will be a better team next year because of the mistakes we made this season.”

Hinds believes that the younger members on the team will be even stronger next year—and hopes for another opportunity to coach next season. He said that the team is capable of playing different systems, including possession and counter-attack—as well as a combination of both.

“I feel that this season was better than last year [when the team also earned a spot in the State playoffs],” Coach Hinds said, “and that’s a great trend. This is very important for the continuous success of the program, and I hope to have a lot of those girls back next year.

One of “those girls” Hinds is referring to is junior Avae Velasquez, who Coach Hinds said is this season’s most improved player.

“It’s amazing that Coach Hinds recognized my hard work and devotion to the team this season,” Velasquez said. “Thanks to my coach’s guidance and advice, I was able to improve quickly. He believed in me, and I wholeheartedly believe that made me a better player.”

Hinds is serious about being a soccer coach. He has been a coach for four years for the Arizona Olympic Development Program, as well as a coach staff instructor for the Arizona Youth Soccer Association, said the he plans to coach next year, and start earlier recruitment for girls to join the team. Also, Hinds is currently a Pima County Junior Soccer League Director of Coaching, and a member of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Hinds, a native of Venezuela, has lived in Tucson for 25 years, and holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. He is currently a board member of the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona.

Pueblo Makes A Goal—A Winning One!

Sandra Iniguez El Guerrero Pueblo 2015

By Sandra Iniguez

Pueblo Boys Soccer In 2016 State Playoff 1st Round Game

This past year, Pueblo’s athletics department has consistently risen to challenges and reached awesome success. This has also been the scenario for Pueblo’s boys’ soccer team.

The boys’ team was able to successfully take the win in 10 out of 12 of their season games; as a result of this phenomenal record, the team will be headed to playoffs.

“It was a great season,” said Brayan Urias, a senior who is midfielder for Pueblo’s soccer team. “I think this team has been the best to play at Pueblo.”

On Saturday, February 6, the boys were able to take the win in their second round playoff game against NFL YET Academy with the final score of 7-2. This is the first time that Pueblo soccer has gotten this far with an opportunity to place in state.

“We’ve come a long way from where we started and we’ve definitely changed our mindset about how much effort we need to put in,” said David Greenwood, a senior who plays forward for the team.

Senior Erick Garcia, another midfielder for the boys’ soccer team, said, “Out of my four years playing here at Pueblo, this team is my favorite because most of us have played club soccer together, and that just adds to the dynamic chemistry we have out in the field.”

The boys’ next game is at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10, at Tucson High School, where they will take on Glendale Prep.

“I hope we are able to bring another state banner into Pueblo’s Lever Gym,” added Garcia.

If the boys are able to win in the semifinals game against Glendale Prep, they will move on to the championship game and will represent Pueblo at the highest level.

“I am confident we can make it to State final,” said senior Mario Rodriguez, a midfielder on the team. “Throughout the entire season, everyone on the team has put in the effort to play to the best of their ability and represent Pueblo with pride.”

Mr. Francisco Urtuzuastegui, Pueblo’s boys’ soccer coach, much like the rest of Pueblo, is extremely excited and proud of how much the team has accomplished this season.

“The team consists of guys who are filled with so much enthusiasm [for soccer],” Urtuzuastegui said. “They have really committed themselves to their practices, and I’m extremely proud of them. I am confident that the boys can take State, which would be a great experience for them and to make it [their mark] at Pueblo. A State victory would  also be a very personal victory that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”