One game to win it all: Vail Valley Freedom FC soccer club hosts a one-game playoff Sunday for a shot at a national title
EDWARDS — One team stands between the Vail Valley’s professional indoor soccer club and a shot at a national title.
The valley’s Freedom FC hosts Boulder’s Rumble FC in a one-game playoff, 1 p.m. Sunday in Mountain Rec’s Edwards Fieldhouse.
The winner goes to the Professional Arena Soccer League’s national championship tournament in Cincinnati later this month. The loser goes home.
“They’re one of the top teams in the Rocky Mountain Division. So are we,” Freedom FC manager Michael Schneider said.
Freedom FC beat the Rumble – or a version of the Rumble – in a preseason tournament already, but that’s no guarantee of success this weekend. Schneider said he expects a combination of players from the Rumble’s three teams
“They’ll be stacked, you can be assured of that,” Schneider said.
So will the Freedom.
Freedom FC boasts players from all over this spiral arm of the universe: the United States, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Bulgaria, Chile, Asia and the Valley Soccer Club and local high schools. They’re a combination of players from Glenwood, Carbondale, Eagle, Gypsum, Vail and Grand Junction.
The club is still led by local legends Caesar Castillo and the Escobar brothers — Marco, Kevin and Nestor.
The Escobar brothers helped put Battle Mountain High School soccer on the map. Castillo played at Eagle Valley High School where his scoring records may never be broken. All four played college ball on full-ride soccer scholarships before migrating back home and are playing with the Freedom.
Castillo led the Professional Arena Soccer League’s Rocky Mountain Division in scoring last season, and was fifth in the country.
Nestor suffered a knee injury and won’t be able to play in Sunday’s showdown, Schneider said.
“We’re dedicating Sunday’s game to Nestor,” Schneider said.
Also back are standouts Martine Vasquez, Alex Trujillo, Efrain and Diego Gonzales, Alex “Goku” Zelaya and Ricky Coreveo. The Freedom features three new youth academy players: Victor Lira, Yahir Gomez and Saul “Tigre” Siniloa.
Schneider and assistant and goalie coach Luciano Cruz are back for their fourth year.
About Arena Soccer
Arena soccer is a little like playing soccer inside a pinball machine. They play the ball off the wall, off the nets behind the goal and off of each other.
Six field players and a goalie per side fight for turf in an area about the size of a hockey rink. Like hockey players, they rotate on and off the field every few minutes.