Alumni raise money, have a ball
Saturday's cool temperatures weren't enough to chill the hot rivalry between Foothill and Amador Valley soccer alumni, some of whom competed against each other more than 30 years ago.
The eighth annual Ryan Gordon Alumni Games, held at Amador Valley High, featured men and women players from the 1970s, '80s, '90s and 2000s. This year there were 70 players, 48 men and 22 women, many of them returnees from prior years.
The games are named for Ryan Gordon, a 2003 graduate of Foothill who was killed in a jet ski accident shortly after graduation. He had planned on attending Santa Barbara City College and to play soccer there. Many friends of Ryan were in attendance, and 12 of his ex-teammates played in the games.
A few of the players originally fought against each other back in the '70s, like Dion Hock, a 1978 Foothill graduate, and Kevin Crow and Joe Carlucci, both Amador grads, Crow in 1979 and Carlucci in 1976.
In the first game, the Foothill women extended their win streak to four games by winning 5-4. Foothill was leading comfortably, 5-1, with 10 minutes remaining when Amador made a furious comeback, eventually falling just short. Foothill has now won six of the eight games.
Jillian Sweetnam (2006) scored first for the winners, followed by three goals from Kimmie Patrick (1999), and a goal by Ashlyn Mazur (2009). Allie Cefalo (2004), Amanda Luxford (2009), Alicia Lemoine (1988) and Amber Goelz (2001) had assists. Christina Cefalo was outstanding in goal.
Scoring for Amador were Valerie Mayer (2002), Beverly Mayer (2004), Jessica Daut (2011) and Tina Peterson (1998). Assisting the goals were Daut, Sheri Kapp (1981), Tessie Wagner-Pease (1981) and Ann Peterson (1981). Laura Burton (2008) was solid as the goalie.
The men's side saw Amador getting by Foothill, 2-1, and continuing their series dominance by winning seven of the eight games played so far. Amador scored first on a penalty kick by George Mayer (2008), but the game was soon tied on a spectacular chip shot by Dion Hock. Hock was assisted by Quinn Tomlin (2002) and Corey Caprista (2002). Mayer untied the game with a spectacular blast from the right side with two minutes left in regulation, avoiding what was beginning to look like overtime.
All money raised in the games is donated to the men's and women's soccer programs at the two high schools. This year's games raised $7,000, bringing the total since 2003 to nearly $50,000. This was the most money raised since the inaugural games in 2003.
The halftime intermissions featured youth players from the Ballistic United and Rage soccer clubs. Parents and friends of the kids and alumni crowded the stands.
Volunteers manned the snack bar, collected tickets, announced the action and refereed the games. Additionally, members of the current high school teams chased after errant balls and warmed up the players.
The Hop Yard Alehouse and All Star Sports both contributed to the cause.
Each winning team was provided with a trophy that travels back and forth to each year's winning high school. Next year's games will be at Foothill as the venue changes from Amador to Foothill and back each year.
Contributions can be made to RGSF, c/o Curt Gordon, 205 Heritage Lane Pleasanton 94566. Checks should be made payable to RGSF (note: "Alumni Games").