Pepi’s soccer opens 2002 season
Pepi’s opens the season Saturday at the Grand Junction Summer Soccer Showdown. There, the team will be battling it out with the likes of familiar rivals Breckenridge and Pantuso’s. But there’s also the issue of fatigue.
Pepi’s will be burning the candles at both ends because it’s a World Cup year. Soccer on the field during the day and, at night, the Christmas which comes every four years for soccer fans, the World Cup.
Despite the lack of sleep, head coach Ante Peros believes the World Cup will be a boon for his team.
“The good thing about the World Cup right now is that it shows the players how to play,” he said. “They watch that and they come over here and want to play the same way. That’s really good. I’m hoping that it will increase our abilities and skills.”
And for the superstitious?
“The last time we won the Vail Invitational was the last World Cup year,” chimed in midfielder Daryl Goehring, referring to 1998.
First things, first, though. Pepi’s enters the Soccer Showdown looking for its third straight championship. The local 11 is in Group A of the tournament with Tequila and Breckenridge. Pepi’s meets Tequila on Saturday at 8 a.m. and there’s not much of a scouting report here.
“We don’t know anything about Tequila, but we are bringing the Tequila mix and we’ll see what happens,” Peros joked. “Instant margaritas for everybody.”
There will be no lack of familiarity when it comes to Breck at 7 p.m.
“We’re familiar with Breckenridge. We’ve never liked each other,” the coach said. “It’s one of those things like the Avalanche hate Detroit. It’s a grudge match between us.”
Frisco Disco, Dos Reales-Halcones, Pantuso’s and Atletico Chilango’s make up Group B. The top two teams in each pool advance to the playoffs on Sunday. The championship game is at 1 p.m. Pepi’s defeated Pantuso’s 3-0 in last year’s title game.
“This is a good start for us. The tournament itself is a different style of soccer that we play,” Peros said. “It’s a good warm-up for us. We definitely would like to go in there and say that we’ve won it three years in a row.”
Pepi’s’ 2002 slate has a familiar look to it. The squad will have a round-robin with Breckenridge and Spanish Avon on June 22. The Colorado Mountain College Cup in Glenwood is July 12-14. The much-anticipated Vail Invitational is July 26-28. State Cup is Aug., 17-18, followed by the Kickers’ Labor Day Tournament.
There are also a lot of familiar faces on the team’s roster in 2002. Members of the team include Doug Schwartz, Goehring, Jeff Hayslipp, Vegas Steffens, Mike Morris, Nacen Gray, Tim Sullivan, Nate Allen, Kenny Loeber, Kevin Kaneda, Jeff Leonardo, Jesse Peros, Peter Baranowski, Kevin Egan, Miller Lewis, Miguel Ruiz, Brian Hayslipp, Carlos Estrada, Lasse Hoffman and Hunter Brown. The club’s president is Fred Ammer and Dave Marjoram serves as the vice president.