Vail Valley’s Freedom FC professional arena soccer team opens at home Saturday
If You Go …
What: Freedom FC Arena Soccer tournament
Where: Mountain Rec’s Edwards Fieldhouse
When: Games start at noon and last 45 minutes. The championship match is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $5 adults, $3 kids 17 and under
Information: Mountain Recreation Freedom FC plays in the Professional Arena Soccer League. This is their season opening round-robin tournament against three teams from the Boulder Rumble.
EDWARDS —Mountain Recreation’s Freedom FC rings in a new season when the team hosts a round-robin tournament at the Edwards Fieldhouse.
Freedom FC is a study in indoor soccer, as well as local and international relations.
Players fare from the United States, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Bulgaria and Chile, as well as Vail Valley Soccer Club and local high school standouts.
In the Freedom’s lineup are local legends Caesar Castillo and the Escobar brothers — Marco, Kevin and Nestor.
You remember them. They were legendary local players with Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley high schools. All four played college ball on full-ride soccer scholarships and all four migrated back home and are playing with the Freedom.
The Freedom finished second in the Professional Arena Soccer League’s Rocky Mountain Division last season, and fifth in the U.S. Castillo was the PASL’s top goal scorer, and was the second highest goal scorer in the U.S. Open Cup.
Also back are standouts Martine Vasquez, Alex Trujillo, Efrain and Diego Gonzales, Alex “Goku” Zelaya and Ricky Coreveo. The Freedom will feature three new youth academy players: Victor Lira, Yahir Gomez and Saul “Tigre” Siniloa.
Head coach Michael 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, which Schneider says keeps them fresh.
“It’s a physical game,” Schneider said.
Schneider is also running a youth academy team and will bring along younger players from Vail Valley Soccer Club — for today’s tournament it’s Lira, Gomez, and Siniloa.
Schneider had hip surgery eight weeks ago. He’s back coaching and playing as much as he can, which isn’t all that much because his team is really good.
Today’s round-robin features Freedom FC and a trio of teams from the Boulder Rumble — a Major Arena Soccer League team, a U23 team and the area’s Professional Arena Soccer League team, the same league Freedom FC plays in.
Mountain Rec success
Mountain Recreation (formerly WECMRD) is dedicated to the Freedom’s success, so much that the recreation district provides its Edwards fieldhouse, said Scott Robinson, with Mountain Recreation. The fieldhouse is one of the PASL’s showcase facilities.
“We want the Freedom to be something that the community unites behind and supports,” Robinson said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.