Local Soccer Teams ‘Set the Tone’ at Centralia Jamboree


The cold, wet, and dark evening Thursday wouldn’t do anything to suggest that it’s coming onto spring, but the six local sides that descended on the Hub City to get the soccer ball rolling on the turf boldly proclaimed the changing of the season, as Centralia hosted the boys’ edition of its annual jamboree at Tiger Stadium.

“I think it’s really great to host this every year,” first-year Centralia coach Noel Vazquez said. “You get to see coaches, see teams in your league, see the quality of play that you’re going to be facing.”

The evening involved three 2A squads — Centralia, W.F. West, and Rochester — and three 1As — Ilwaco, Toledo-Winlock United, and Tenino — and in a bit of a deviation from past years, Vazquez lined up the matchups so that no league opponents would have to face each other. In six cross-classification matchups, the 2As earned five wins and outscored their opponents 14-1, with the lone mark against them coming in a 1-1 tie between Rochester and Ilwaco.

The Fishermen only brought nine players to the party, and in the spirit of sportsmanship, the Warriors went down to nine as well, and spent the first 19 minutes of the 20-minute game trying to figure out the flow of a match without two men on the field. 

Staring down a loss, Rochester was saved by a hero from across the Atlantic, as Gabriel Fernandez-Sales — a sophomore exchange student from Barcelona — announced his arrival in style, dribbling through three defenders with a spin for good measure and rifling home a shot from well outside the penalty area.

“He’s going to be a good player for us,” Rochester coach Matt Ashton said. “The unfortunate part is that he’s an exchange student, so he’s only going to be here for the year, but he’s a very good player.”

The Warriors went on to drub Toledo-Winlock United 4-0 in their second matchup. Then W.F. West took the field, and worked out a 2-0 win over the Cheese-and-Eggers, before taking out Tenino 3-0.

It was the first look at a Bearcats squad heavy on experience, that coach Allen Anderson said he’s anticipated for a couple years in advance now. W.F. West certainly looked the part, working calm in possession and dominating the flow of the game. WFW’s best moment came on its second goal against the Beavers, when goalkeeper Hayden Sciera collected the ball in his own box and rolled it to a defender and the Bearcats quickly linked passes up the field, culminating in Damian Herandez slotting home an easy one-on-one at the other end.

“Our ball movement was real good,” Anderson said. “I loved seeing us build up all the way from the back. We didn’t panic under pressure tonight, and I think that comes from having so many seniors on my roster and their experience together.”

Centralia — which sent out its JV squad to start the evening against Ilwaco — wrapped things up with the varsity team matching their rivals from Chehalis with a 3-0 win over Tenino. 

Kilmer Alverto started the scoring off for the Tigers eight minutes in, Sammy Carpio made it 2-0 five minutes later, and five minutes after that, Simba Osman capped things off with a goal of his own.

Vazquez, who had been an assistant in the program before being elevated to head coach this year, is hoping that despite the change at the top, this season will be one of continuity for the Tigers.

“All those guys that last year started to rise up, I think this is the year they can make something happen,” Vazquez said.

Five of Thursday’s teams will get their seasons started over the coming days, with Tenino set to take another week off. Saturday, United with host Black Hills at Winlock, and Rochester will face Evergreen at home. By next Tuesday, 2A EvCo play will be underway.

“This is a good way to start the year,” Anderson said. “I think it was a great way to set the tone for next week.”