Comments Off

Bulldogs win 3rd Straight State Championship!

Posted November 25th, 2012 in Uncategorized by steve

Class 5A boys soccer: Woodburn completes three-peat by beating Mountain View 2-1

Jerry Ulmer, The Oregonian, November 17, 2012 1:48 p.m.

Woodburn celebrates winning the Class 5A boys soccer state title. - (Norm Maves Jr., special to The Oregonian)

HILLSBORO — Woodburn’s supremacy in Class 5A boys soccer, firmly established the last two years, seemed a bit tenuous early this season.

Luis Del Rio, who coached the Bulldogs to back-to-back state titles, had left to take over the men’s team at George Fox University. Replacing him was a first-year varsity coach in Carlos Horcos, who moved from Chile two years ago.

“At the beginning, we had a couple of struggles,” senior forward Luis Rangel said. “But we got past them.”

The Bulldogs adjusted to Horcos’ passing-game style and once again rose to the top, completing their third consecutive championship run Saturday with a 2-1 win over Mountain View of Bend in the Class 5A final at Hillsboro Stadium. Woodburn (15-0-2) extended its unbeaten streak to 35 and improved to 50-2-2 in the last three seasons.

“I like challenge, and I like soccer, and I went to Woodburn because it was a challenge,” Horcos said. “I treat the guys like professionals, and they get the message and respond every day. And here we are.”

Junior Michael Hobson said it was just a matter of time before it came together for the Bulldogs.

“The style of play was a little different, but we adjusted to it,” Hobson said. “All of us have played all different types of soccer. He gave leeway with us, too. We would say, ‘We’re used to it this way.’ He would work with us.”

Hobson and Rangel found the net in the first half as Woodburn took a 2-0 lead and held off the hard-charging Cougars (11-5-2) down the stretch.

Hobson scored in the 19th minute, rebounding a hard shot by junior Cesar Ramos that bounced off junior goalkeeper Levi Schlapfer. Rangel added his team-leading 12th goal in the 33rd minute, splitting three defenders and firing past Schlapfer from point-blank range.

“It was one of my better goals,” Rangel said.

The Bulldogs pulled back to protect a 2-0 lead, and Mountain View, which entered with a Class 5A-best 65 goals, began to threaten in the second half. Freshman Zach Emerson led repeated charges, but the Cougars couldn’t put the ball past Woodburn junior goalkeeper Kevin Courtney-Vera.

Finally, with 2:50 remaining, junior Hudson Newell scored on a header off an assist from freshman Taylor Willman to make it 2-1. Mountain View had a chance to tie a minute later, but Courtney-Vera snagged the ball out of the air just in time to foil a header attempt by Emerson,

“It was inches,” Mountain View coach Chris Rogers said of the scoring chance.

 Woodburn finished with an 11-7 edge in shots over the Cougars, who were bidding for their first title since sharing one with Jesuit in 1999.

“I feel like we were better than them, and I still do. I just wanted five more minutes,” Rogers said. “My hat’s off to Woodburn. They got some unfortunate goals in the first half. But I thought we handled them. I really do.”

– Jerry Ulmer

From the Oregon Live website

  • Share/Bookmark
Comments Off

Woodburn player named Soccer Player of the Year

Posted December 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized by steve

Here’s a nice story by Matt Monghan from the Salem Statesman-Journal:

There was a time when Juan Martinez was all about scoring goals. It was his left foot that gave Woodburn High School its first state soccer championship a year ago.But two major changes have occurred in Martinez’s life sincethen, and as a result the senior has learned that making the assist on the field feels as good as it does off.In the last year, Martinez turned 18 and moved out of the foster care home he grew up in since the age of 7. He also became a father.

Together, these new responsibilities have the Mid-Willamette Conference player of the year thinking more about the people around him, and it’s translated to his performance on the pitch. Martinez, a striker, led Woodburn to its second consecutive Class 5A state championship this season. He scored 23 goals, but more importantly to him and his coach, he assisted on 26 more. For those accomplishments he is the Statesman Journal’s All-Mid-Valley boys soccer player of the year.

“He (Martinez) can be a goal-scoring machine, but he grew up a lot this year,” said Woodburn coach Luis Del Rio. “This year I think he understood better that helping the team actually makes him a better player than being a solo player.” The maturation process began when Martinez was emancipated from the foster care system he grew up in and his surrogate parents moved to Texas. He now lives with brother, CarlosPehr, a former standout for the Bulldogs.

Martinez says his experience with the family that cared for him and Pehr was positive, but it’s also left him with desire to help disadvantaged kids. “As a young kid I was sent into foster care and I just want to help kids to know that they can be successful if they stay focused and work hard,” Martinez said.

In a soccer-mad community like Woodburn, Martinez is a well-known local figure, but he didn’tstart playing the game until the age of 12, preferring basketball. Once he started taking soccer seriously however, he flourished. “Juan is one of the best players I have ever coached,” Del Rio said. “He is an all-around complete package player; a natural player.”

But that natural ability often resulted in Martinez forgetting about his teammates while attempting to dribble his way through all 10 defenders on the field.

Sure, he scored a lot of goals, but Del Rio says it came at the expense of making his teammates better.

“This year, everything that happened with him, it made him open his eyes and notice what life is really about,” says Del Rio. “He understands that he’s not alone; that other people are around him and depend on him.”

Martinez has participated in highly selective soccer academies for both the Portland Timbers and the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer. He currently plays for Gresham youth club EastSide United. Moving forward after high school, Martinez said he’s interested in playing collegiately in Oregon (he’s received interest from OSU, Willamette, George Fox and Warner Pacific) with an eye on eventually attempting a pro career.

But he also realizes that now his most important team is the one he leads as a father, and boyfriend to his son’s mother. “It’s not easy not living with your real parents,” Martinez says. “Becoming a parent of my own, I want to give my child a better life than I had.”

Copyright Statesman Journal 2011

  • Share/Bookmark
Comments Off

Woodburn is ESPN’s Team of The Week

Posted September 14th, 2011 in Uncategorized by steve

From’s David Auguste comes this short piece about Woodburn H.S., the Team of The Week:

Head coach Luis Del Rio wanted his troops to have a singular focus last fall: team achievement. A change in philosophy was necessary as Woodburn had piled up plenty of individual accolades over the years, but they failed to translate it into postseason success.

“I never saw [a full team effort] in previous teams,” says the third-year coach. “It’s not about single players. We tried to put that in their heads all year.”

The move paid off as the Bulldogs qualified for the postseason for the 24th consecutive season and advanced to the Class 5A championship game. After coming up short in three previous trips to the finals, Woodburn erased its past struggles with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Corvallis.

So what’s the plan for this season? With a team-first mentality firmly ingrained in the minds of the returning players, the coaching staff will shift its attention to increasing the competition level for a repeat bid. That effort begins with Del Rio’s son Luis Angel and senior classmate Juan Martinez.

The younger Del Rio was tough to beat in net last season and continued his stellar play in the finals, taking home ODS Player of the Game honors after recording 11 saves. His 6-foot-3 frame and athleticism was a factor for a squad that allowed 14 goals and posted seven clean sheets last fall. Martinez was the team’s leading scorer (19 goals) and netted Woodburn’s first tally just 17 minutes into the finals. Several younger players will be expected to fill voids across the roster, but coach Del Rio is confident his seniors can get them on board in time for another deep postseason run.

“We have that pressure on us to respond to the competition and defend our championship,” he says. “We will do the best we can and represent the school the best we can.”

  • Share/Bookmark
Comments Off

Upcoming Readings and Paperback

Posted September 7th, 2011 in Uncategorized by steve

The paperback edition on Boys comes out mid-October and I have two readings scheduled afterwards: October 23, 2 p.m., at Village Books in Bellingham, WA, and October 27, 7 p.m., at St. Helens Bookshop in St. Helens, OR.

  • Share/Bookmark
Comments Off

What American Soccer Needs

Posted July 12th, 2011 in Uncategorized by steve

Soccer’s split fan base is well known: upper middle-class whites and working class immigrants, mostly Latinos. Both have distinct viewing habits: Anglos tend to watch English Premiere League and MLS, Latinos tend to watch Mexican League and European teams.

The problem is not the number of viewers that soccer has. The biggest problem American soccer faces, and one it needs to overcome if soccer is going to finally get the piece of American sports attention that it so badly wants, is how to unite those disparate viewers. More than that, American soccer needs to include the vast uninterested block of American sports fans who pay no attention to futbol. Call them the Average American Sports Fan (AASF).

To the AASF, soccer is a game played by children and women. They have good reason for thinking so, since soccer is uniquely popular among children and women. However, in most of the world, soccer is a man’s sport. So, why isn’t soccer a man’s sport in the good old U.S. of A?

When men watch sports, they see a physical expression of masculinity. Revered athletes display strength, grit, determination. They are powerful, dominant, aggressive, and ruthless. We talk about athletes such as Kobe Bryant not only because of their physical abilities, but because of their mental ferocity.

Men such as Bret Favre and Cal Ripken Jr. are looked up to because they “bring their lunchpail”and have “bluecollar work eithic”.

To soccer fans worldwide, players express this type of masculinity. But the very traits that most Mexican men ascribe to soccer–grit, strength, athleticism, perseverance–are the traits that most American sports fans think that soccer lacks. Why the difference? Maybe because soccer in the U.S. did not rise to popularity out of the vacant lot and the schoolyard, the proving grounds for boys eager to display their strength and courage. Maybe it is because the most strident soccer fans in America tend to be white and educated and therefore perceived as soft. Maybe it’s because soccer is popular in Europe, and we all know what wimps the Europeans are.

The reason why is moot: professional soccer is here. We can’t go back and change the narrative. We just need to roughen it up a bit.

Americans love sports narratives that demonstrate a player’s grit and determination. Think Steve Nash in the 2010 NBA playoff games, taking the floor with one eye swollen shut and a broken nose. Think Duncan Keith, who battled on in the NHL playoffs despite having seven teeth knocked out. Think of Greg LaMonde, who won the Tour de France after being shotgunned in the thigh, or Lance Armstrong, winning after nearly dying from testicular cancer.

The narrative that the AASF applies to soccer, however, is about the lack of scoring, the flops, and the violence off the field (at least internationally). What American soccer needs is not photos of Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba stripped to their undershorts on the cover of Vanity Fair–it needs pictures of guys playing with broken arms, guys returning to the field after being carried off in a stretcher, guys with blood dripping from their ears.

This is the hurdle that American soccer needs to overcome. Somehow, MLS needs to focus on a single narrative: that soccer is hard, violent, and physical. It is. Americans just don’t know it yet.

  • Share/Bookmark
Comments Off

ACLU: High school reinstates soccer team

Posted April 6th, 2011 in Uncategorized by steve

For some students, playing on a sports team can make the difference between success and failure in school.   It can be the one thing that keeps them coming to school each day, motivates them to keep their grades up, or connects them to a caring adult in the building.

So, when a school cuts sports opportunities for any of its students, it’s unfortunate.  When a school cuts opportunities for students who are already underrepresented in sports and activities, or otherwise disadvantaged, the consequences can be significant and it can raise potential civil rights issues.

That’s why the ACLU-WA intervened on behalf of families in Okanagon County when it learned of school district plans to eliminate its entire boys’ soccer program which is 80% – 90% Hispanic, without making a single budget cut to its other major sports such as football, basketball and baseball, which are over 90% white. The soccer program, which plays in the spring, is the least expensive per student of the major sports and results in the greatest number of scholarship opportunities for students in this school district.

However, the demographics of this community suggest that the parents of many of the soccer players are recent immigrants or migrant workers and less likely to be experienced or comfortable advocating with the school board on behalf of their sons’ team.  Moreover, for many of these students, playing on the soccer team is their only connection to school outside the classroom.  For these students, as for many others, playing on a school team can result in better grades, better college and career opportunities, lower rates of drug and alcohol abuse, and fewer discipline problems at school.

The ACLU-WA contacted the school district and explained the issues of fairness and discrimination that are raised by eliminating the only sport that attracts Hispanic students.   At its most recent school board meeting, the district voted to reinstate the boys’ soccer team.

School districts throughout the state are struggling in these tough economic times and having to make difficult budget decisions, including trimming their athletic programs.   Instead of cutting entire programs or teams, many schools have wisely and creatively found ways to reduce costs across their entire athletic programs and generate new sports revenues without cutting any teams.  For examples and suggestions on how to maintains sports in tough economic times, check out this article by the Women’s Sports Foundation.

  • Share/Bookmark
Comments Off

Posted March 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized by steve


The Senate education committee Thursday afternoon passed a bill that would allow Oregon students brought to the country illegally to pay in-state tuition.

Senate Bill 742 would allow undocumented high school seniors who’ve lived in Oregon the last three years to pay in-state tuition at the state’s seven public universities. They now must pay out-of-state tuition, which is three times higher and a barrier to most of them.

Sen. Larry George, R- Sherwood, cast the only vote against the measure. He said the proposal addresses a compelling justice issue, but he is concerned it would cost the state money.

“We are cutting school days, we can’t fund full-day kindergarten,” he said, “and then we’re passing something that will put an additional burden on the higher education system.”

Sen. Frank Morse, R-Albany, said he could not hold children responsible for being brought to this country illegally by their parents. It is in the interest of the state to let undocumented youth “improve our country by improving their lives,” he said. “For me it is an issue of what will make Oregon better.”

Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, said if the students are charged out-of-state tuition, they won’t go to college, and the state will lose out on their contributions to society and the economy.

Before passing the bill Thursday, the Senate committee approved two amendments to it. One would require undocumented students seeking in-state tuition to sign an affidavit saying they have filed or will file an application for citizenship. The other requires them to have been in the country five years and in Oregon the last three.

The vote was met with a smattering of applause from some in the audience, glares of outrage from others.

“We have a pathetic bunch of people in charge,” fumed Mary Mayer, of Beaverton, who watched the vote. She was angry that Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, chair of the committee, didn’t allow public testimony. She said opponents to the bill have been ignored.

“These are people here illegally,” Mayer said. “The government has not kept these people out of our country. Now they’re saying Oregon taxpayers are going to pay for them.”

Hass noted after the meeting that in an emotional two-hour public hearing two weeks ago, the committee gave everyone interested in speaking a chance to do so. Opponents at that hearingargued the bill would reward students breaking the law at the expense of Americans here legally.

Vicki Falcon, a senior education major at Western Oregon University, said after the Thursday vote that she knows lots of young students who would be able to attend college if they could pay the less expensive in-state tuition.

“A lot of them are really intelligent,” Falcon said. “They’re part of the community. Why not be contributing to it?”

A study of Washington State, where the policy is in effect, suggests the lower tuition would draw only a handful of undocumented students, George Pernsteiner, chancellor of the Oregon University System, told the state board this month.

It would result in a “slight positive impact on the university system’s bottom line,” he said. “No one campus would serve more than 15 more students in the next four years.”

A majority of Oregon’s undocumented youth lives in low-income, Latino homes. They find it a challenge to pay resident tuition and fees, which now average $7,100 for undergraduates at the seven state campuses, university officials say. Out-of-state tuition, which is about three times that, would be out of reach, they say. University of Oregon tuition and fees total $8,190 for residents and $25,830 for students from out of state.

The bill, which heads next to a vote on the Senate floor, has support from business groups, university presidents and the State Board of Higher Education.

– Bill Graves and Harry Esteve

  • Share/Bookmark