Men’s soccer team learns from the pros


The Chico State men’s soccer team plays the Sacramento Republic at Cosumnes River College. Photo credit: Esther Briggs

Not everyone gets the opportunity to play their first offseason game against a professional team.

However, for the Chico State men’s soccer team, the opportunity to play the United Soccer League team Sacramento Republic was one it did not want to pass up. Ending its spring break a little early, the team headed to Cosumnes River College in Sacramento for the preseason game.

Head coach Felipe Restrepo was glad the game was able to happen through a healthy and positive relationship with the Sacramento Republic.

“They were looking to fill some extra spots before their season starts, and for us it was a chance to see where we as a team needed to grow during our preseason,” Restrepo said.

The players were thankful to their coaching staff for setting up the game and were excited to put this game down in their repertoire. Although it was a no-pressure game, the opportunity to learn from professional players is one they did not take for granted.

Junior Rajee DeLane, player for the Chico State soccer team. Photo credit: Chico Wildcats

Junior Rajee DeLane was one of the many players excited to watch the habits of the Republic on the field.

“For me, just being a student of the game when I wasn’t on the field was important. To see how the professionals play and different things they do to improve was important,” DeLane said.

Restrepo was happy to get his team around such a great program so they could use it as a learning experience.

“The outcome was not what we were focused on going into this game. We were focused on ourselves and looking at how we can improve,” Restrepo said. “We played a lot of our younger players; for some it was their first college game.”

As the game progressed from start to end, the feelings on the sidelines were a range from calm to nerves.

Former Chico State soccer player Octavio Guzman now plays for Sacramento Republic. Photo credit: Chico Wildcats

“In the first half it took a while for us to settle in. It was our first real game as a team so it was a little chaotic,” DeLane said. “When the second half came we were more settled creating chances, and our goalkeeper Tristan Montoya made some great saves.”

The experience a team gains from playing athletes who are older and more experienced will help it grow for the upcoming season. Not only was this game great experience but it was a chance for Chico State to see two of its alumni make it professionally: Octavio Guzman and Dominik Jakubek.

This spring, the Wildcats hope to learn and grow from six more preseason games before the fall season.

Esther Briggs can be contacted at [email protected] or @EstherBriggs191 on Twitter.