CALEXICO â€“ The challenge was on and spirits were in full force as the Calexico elementary schools participated in the 9th Annual Elementary Soccer Tournament Saturday morning at the Cesar Chavez Elementary School, all teams hoping to be this yearâ€™s champs.
Cesar Chavez Elementary School (CCES) has been the centerpiece of elementary school soccer. The event was a vision of the first principal at CCES, Norberto NuÃ±ez, who wanted to have a city-wide tournament to unite the community.
â€œThis was Norberto NuÃ±ez vision nine years ago and we have continued with his vision year after year,â€ said Jaime Santos, CCES Principal. â€œWe miss Mr. NuÃ±ez and we invited his school (Washington School) to participate however he was unable to attend, maybe next year.â€
For many elementary students, Saturdayâ€™s tournament was their first taste of competitive school spirit as they defended their alma mater.
â€œThe Calexico High School coaches and varsity players donated their time as referees during the tournament,â€ said Jaime Santos, CCES Principal. â€œWe are very fortunate to have them here donating their time.â€
Competing elementary schools included; Cesar Chavez, Kennedy Gardens, Mains, Blanch Charles, Rockwood, Dool, Jefferson and Heber Elementary who was invited as a guest.
Taking firstÂ place in the 4-6 grade boys division was Cesar Chavez who defeated Kennedy Gardens 2-0, while firstÂ place in the 4-6 grade girls division went to Cesar Chaves defeating Blanch Charles 3-0. Mains took firstÂ place in the 1-3 grades, defeating Cesar Chavez 4-3.
â€œThis is my first year here (CCES) and everyone would tell me this tournament was very important. I didnâ€™t understand how important it was until I began to prepare for it and how passionate every school was and their coaches for their players and student,â€ said NuÃ±ez. â€œThereâ€™s not a lot to do here in our city and looking at everyone here and how they are enjoying themselves gives me great satisfaction.â€
Over 300 students participated in the tournament and each received a medal donated by Pimentel Studio who also donated the trophies for the winners.
â€œWe have sponsored this event for the all nine years of its existence,â€ said Tony Pimentel, owner of Pimentel Studio. â€œIt is a way of saying thank you for the business the schools give us year after year and also a satisfaction to give back to the community.â€
Pimentel Studio is located in Calexico and since 1993 has been the preferred school photography studio.
â€œThe players in my team were chosen for their abilities, potential, and love for soccer,â€ said Jose Lopez, Kennedy Gardens Coach. â€œIâ€™m very excited and have faith in my boys. Win or lose they are all winners in my eyes.â€
The tournament lead to all day fun and competition for both players and their families.
â€œThis tournament is such a good idea,â€ said Samuel Parra. â€œNot only do our children compete and have fun doing so, but it also gives families such as mine quality time together on a Saturday morning with good weather.â€
This yearâ€™s sponsors included: Pimentel Studio, Prime Lending, Calexico High School and Eco Water.
â€œWe (CCES) did good, now we have bragging rights for one year,â€ said NuÃ±ez. â€œI am very proud of our tournament. It was a tremendous activity for the city and students. It is things like this that brings the community together.â€[envira-gallery id=”74203″]