Ex-Wildcat helps soccer team to title run

Octavio Guzman
Guzman dribbles up the ball for Sacramento Republic FC. Photo Courtesy Octavio Guzman

Octavio Guzman accumulated 14 goals, 14 assists and combined for 28 shots on goal as a Chico State soccer player.

Guzman is now a member of Sacramento Republic FC, which won the United States League championship game 2-0 on Sept. 27. The ex-‘Cat scored the go-ahead goal in the game, giving Sacramento the title.

Guzman has played 20 of 29 games in his rookie season with two goals and two assists as a midfielder. The Orion caught up with Guzman to talk about his soccer career.

How did you get on Sacramento Republic FC?

Coach Preki came to one of our games, and in that game I happened to play center mid for the first time in my Chico State career. Preki told Felipe, ‘I think I found my center mid.’ So I got invited to a college invite tryout with a few other guys from my team. At the tryout, there were about 40 college players from around the country that Preki had hand-selected to come in. After the tryout, he called six players to come back to attend another tryout, this time containing some professional players. He said he was only going to sign a couple of players and I happened to get offered a contract.

How did playing at Chico State get you ready to play professionally?

I think Chico State helped me out in a lot of ways on and off field. Felipe is a great coach where every day you are competing for a spot. I learned a new position in Chico. All this happened to me at Sacramento Republic. I was ready for it. The coaches are pretty similar so I was familiar and understood what they wanted me to do.

Take me through your worst day as a professional.

I mean, a lot of things were hard but I never gave up. Training has to be perfect or else you’ll lose your spot, especially as a rookie. But (at) the beginning of the season, I had a couple of injuries that put me out for about a month. It was already hard enough playing out injuries so injuries make it real difficult. I wasn’t making the 18-man roster. When I started getting better, I would dress up and sometimes not play or just get to play like, 15 minutes. I stayed focused and told myself it’s a long season, I will be fine. I set a goal which was to be in the starting team for the playoffs and that’s exactly what happened.

You scored a goal in the championship game. How did that feel?

It hasn’t hit me yet. I was just happy I contributed to the team’s victory. I feel I should score every game. I’m really hard on myself.

What was your favorite memory playing at Chico State?

I have a lot of great memories playing at Chico State. A good one has to be when we played against Stanislaus in the final and I scored a goal to give us a tie. I also got an assist to put us up 2-1 but unfortunately we lost in the last minutes.

Angelo Boscacci can be reached at [email protected] or @boscacci6 on Twitter.