Twentynine Palms -- Marines with 29 Palms Futbol Club faced off against the Camp Pendleton’s base team, Pendleton FC in a pre-season game on their own home turf of Felix Field aboard the Combat Center, Feb. 11, 2017.
29 Palms FC, the Combat Center’s base soccer team, face off against other teams from across the Marine Corps as well as other branches of service. This weekend’s game came down to the wire and concluded with a penalty kick shootout.
Off to a strong start, Pendleton FC scored the first goal of the game. The point put the team ahead for the rest of the first half, putting 29 Palms FC on the offensive to even the score. During half-time, coaches talked with the team about how to steal the victory.
“You can’t be in the game to score, you have to be in the game to play soccer,” said Staff Sgt. Adam Rivera, player, 29 Palms FC. “When you focus on scoring, you lose track of the fundamentals. We have to focus on moving the ball and playing a sport we love, the goals will follow.”
With the start of the second half, 29 Palms FC stepped onto the field with clear minds, ready to play. They scored near the end of the second half, bringing the score to 1-1. The final whistle blew bringing the deadlock to a halt. Coaches selected their players to compete in the penalty kick shootout, where a player faces the goalie, shooting from 12 yards out.
29 Palms FC pulled through during the penalty kick shootout, coming out victorious against Pendleton FC for the first time in six years.
“Being a coach is not easy, especially when everyone on the team is either your age or older,” said Cpl. Marco A. Perez, player and coach, 29 Palms FC. “But having a team that has so much talent and heart makes it easier. These guys all have a good understanding of the game and their Marine Corps work ethic definitely reflects with them during practice; I think that’s what helped us be victorious today.”
29 Palms FC is using these pre-season games and coming months to practice and prepare for a tournament at Fort Irwin National Training Center in April, where the team will face off against eight other Armed Forces teams. Practices are now open, so service members looking for a spot on the team are welcome to come to practice held at 5:00 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Felix Field.