By Ron Blonder
Every weekend, several soccer teams compete throughout the many athletic fields sprinkled around Santa Cruz County. These popular community events bring family and friends together to root and support their favorite teams. It’s a sport played with the heart, as there is no major fanfare or media coverage. Yet, these warriors go to battle every week for community pride and honor.
One such game was played on Sunday, December 3 at Depot Park. It was a championship game between Yaquis and Zimatlan. Towards the end of the three-and-a-half-month season, on October 7, cancer cruelly took away coach Fausto Rodriguez’s life at the age of 43. He had been coach for ten years. His family and the Yaquis team were devastated. Coach Fausto’s wife and family wanted the team to finish the season, even though it would have been easy just to give up.
The team and family endured the remaining games and found themselves in the Championship game against a strong rival, the Zimatlan. At half time, Yaquis was behind 2 goals to 1. The team gathered together, and they felt the coach’s presence watching them. It was all they needed. In the second half, they tied the score 2 to 2. By the end of the match, Yaquis scored again with a final win of 3 to 2.
It seems fitting that the team and Fausto’s family are Champions. It was Fausto Rodriguez final victory. At least two hundred people watched the Championship match.