By Jake Knoeller
(Jake Knoeller is an Arcata High graduate who will be attending Humboldt State and studying journalism. This summer, he will be contributing some stories to HumboldtSports.com.)
The 2021 Humboldt Champions League soccer tournament concluded on Sunday on the new soccer field at Bear River Casino.
There was a final round of group games played between the eight teams earlier in the day, with FC Athleticos and Redwood Curtain FC reaching the final, which FC Athleticos won 2-1.
FC Athleticos fielded a team full of players who have played locally for years, including for College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University.
Redwood Curtain FC was a fairly young team composed of many players who just finished their high school soccer season this spring.
The game started off with back-and-forth possession and not many chances, but 10 minutes in, RCFC sent a long ball in the air towards the opposing box. The ball ended up in the net off an Athleticos defender, resulting in an own goal to open the scoring.
FC Athleticos responded well, but while having most of the possession and chances during the rest of the first half they didn’t find a way past RCFC who entered halftime with a narrow 1-0 advantage.
The second half got off to a quiet start, but 10 minutes into the half, FC Athleticos managed to get the ball forward. Francisco Calderon took a first touch and hit a powerful shot that flew past the RCFC keeper and landed in the top right corner to even the score.
After scoring, Athleticos seemed to take all the momentum, having chance after chance but not being able to find a way through.
Then, with around seven minutes left in the game, Alexis Olea found a through ball at his feet in an onside position. Olea took a touch and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to give his team their first lead of the game.
RCFC almost responded immediately when the game was starting to get physical and chippy. They won a free kick in the opposing half. Jesus Parra stepped up to take the shot and got it over the wall. It looked to be going in, but at the last second, an Athleticos defender headed the ball away to preserve the lead. Olea’s goal proved to be the winner.
FC Athleticos accepted the trophy and celebrated a job well done after going undefeated the whole tournament.