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The Orion

Former Wildcat soccer players get closer to dream goal

guzman file.jpg
Octavio Guzman. The Orion file photo.

The dream of playing for a professional team could come true for three former Chico State men’s soccer players.

Tyson Crim, Octavio Guzman and Jake Ward completed round two of tryouts for Sacramento Republic FC, the expansion team from the United Soccer League.

Round one was held in December with five to seven spots available to 25-28 college players. Chico State played strong and snagged three of the spots.

The level of competition was different the second time around, Guzman said.

“The soccer was similar and the plays were the same, it was just better overall players now,” Guzman said. “I didn’t feel any pressure to try harder because I was confident in myself. I just played my game and did good, I think.”

Not one to fall short in the game, Guzman was named Second Team All-CCAA for Chico State this past season. Crim and Ward were named First Team All-CCAA.

Crim noticed a higher level of competition as well.

There were older, veteran players trying out and people from European leagues and other parts of the world, Crim said.

“It was fun playing against higher level guys,” Crim said. “It raises your level as well because you’re having to play faster and think faster.”

Sacramento Republic FC is the first and only USL Pro team to be affiliated with not one, but two MLS clubs. The two affiliated teams are the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes already have one former Chico State men’s soccer player, Chris Wondolowski, who played for the Wildcats from 2001-2004.

Guzman and Crim gave it their all and the decision will now be up to the Sacramento Republic FC coaching staff.

“I think this will be my only avenue of soccer and if it doesn’t work I will hang up the boots,” Crim said. “I have a job lined up in Oroville as a project engineer with the Oroville Dam.”

Crim graduated this past fall with a degree in construction management. Guzman also graduated recently, with a degree in exercise physiology.

Guzman plans to keep his soccer dreams going a little longer if he does not make the team.

“I’m going to give it some more time with soccer and probably work with a soccer agent,” Guzman said. “If that does not work then I will fall back and use my education and degree to find a job.”

The Sacramento Republic FC plans to release the roster for its preseason training camp close to Feb. 17, the first day of camp. Stay updated with @theorion_sports throughout February to find out if these three athletes made the team.

Sergio Sanchez can be reached at [email protected] or
@sergechez on Twitter

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