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Vaqueros Men’s Soccer Club Earns Bid to National Tournament

The Vaqueros Men’s Soccer Club at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will compete at the NIRSA National Soccer Championships Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, in a bid to make history and bring home a national title. The squad earned the golden ticket to the national tournament in Foley, Ala., along with the NIRSA Region IV champions title after defeating Tulane University 2-1 at the NIRSA Region IV Super Regional Soccer Championships in Tulsa, Okla. in early November. Courtesy Photo

by Priscilla Ramirez
RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The Vaqueros Men’s Soccer Club at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will compete at the NIRSA National Soccer Championships Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, in a bid to make history and bring home a national title.
The squad earned the golden ticket to the national tournament in Foley, Ala., along with the NIRSA Region IV bid champions title after defeating Tulane University 2-1 at the NIRSA Region IV Super Regional Soccer Championships finals in Tulsa, Okla. in early November.
Vaqueros Men’s Soccer Club President Alejandro Garcia said if they had lost at regionals, it would have been a long and sad trip back home.
“We all knew that, by that point, it was either winning or winning,” he said. “And losing that first match (against Tulane) made us realize this was real.”
The win earned the team a trip to the championship series along with Texas Tech University and The University of Texas at Austin.
UTRGV is set to play Nov. 29 against University of California-Davis at 9:45 a.m. and against Michigan State at 3 p.m.
The national tournament brings together 96 colleges to compete at the Foley Sports Tourism Complex.
Garcia said having the opportunity to represent UTRGV at a national level is impressive, given the size of the club, and the fact that this is the team’s competitive debut year.
“There are some big universities competing, and some of them have been around for more than10 years,” he said. “So for us to be of that same caliber – it’s something we never even thought about until it actually happened.”
The Vaqueros Men’s Soccer Club meets three times a week to practice, two hours per session. There, they strategize and compete with each other to hone their skills and to work on teamwork and leadership skills.
One of the organization’s goals is to serve as an academy for members – bringing up students athletically and mentally.
“Our main purpose is to have students aware that we’re here for those people who love soccer,” Garcia said.
The club members traveling to the national tournament include:
  • Christian Villescas – Katy, Texas.
  • Andres Lomeli – Monterrey, N.L, Mexico.
  • Hector Rendon – Edinburg, TX.
  • Solomon Koomson – Cape Coast, Ghana.
  • Jonathan Gallardo – Donna, TX.
  • Alejandro R. Garcia – Laredo, TX.
  • Bryan Estrella – Brownsville, TX.
  • Abraham Aviles – Palmview, TX.
  • Alexis Ovalle – Palmview, TX.
  • Alfredo Robles – San Juan, TX.
  • Miguel Mateos – Elba, New York.
  • Carlos Avila – Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico.
  • Kevin Damken – Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
  • Francisco Menchaca – Queretaro, Mexico.
  • Alberto Araguz – Weslaco, TX.
  • Jesus Sanchez – Edinburg, TX.
  • Nestor Arenas – Donna, TX.
  • Miguel Lopez – McAllen, TX.
  • Robert Vasquez – McAllen, TX.
  • Luis Reyna – Edcouch, TX.
  • Missael Salinas – San Juan, TX.
Coaches include:
  • Hugo Zuñiga – Head Coach.
  • Gabriel Camarena – Assistant Coach.
  • Eduardo Arámbula – Psychology Coach.
  • Óscar Reyna – Physical Coach.
For more information about the Vaqueros Men’s Soccer Club, visit the clubs webpage or email alejandro.r.garcia01@utrgv.edu.
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