By Arnie Leshin
Lesson to be learned, patience, just have patience.
Eddy Segura, who grew up with a love for soccer and had his finest years on the pitch playing club ball in Costa Rica, had coached the girl’s team at Academy of Technology and The Classics from 2014 until 2018, and began this season with one winning one, 8-7-1 in his initial campaign.
Sure, he would have traded in defeats for more wins, but it didn’t get to him. Only the program mattered, as in having the satisfaction of getting girls out each season and keeping the program going.
Now his young and surprising Phoenix are the talk around these parts, perhaps even the state. In 3A, two girls teams are undefeated, his and Albuquerque Bosque Charter School. That’s right, Suarez’ ATC girls own a 6-0 record heading into Tuesday afternoon’s match at West Las Vegas.
“I’m very happy for him, happy for his team,” said ATC athletic director Tim Host, who has pieced together successful track and field and cross country programs at the charter school. “The team has only two seniors and enthusiastic underclassmen.”
The school, which is nearby the Santa Fe Community College, and is now going through exciting renovation changes, has only track and field, XC, girls and boys basketball, and of coursegirls soccer. Talks have been going on in regard to installing boy’s soccer.
At first, it looked like it was just a good start for the girls. But after each new triumph, it looked like Suarez’ team was serving notice, making a statement.
First came an 11-1 rout over Pojoaque Valley, then came home and away 4-0 zips over Santa Fe Indian School, in between it was another 4-0 blank, this time over Moriarty, then a 3-2 tight winat a good Hatch Valley team, it’s only setback in seven starts.
And on Wednesday it was a visit to Santa Fe Prep’s Sun Mountain Field that resulted in a quality 2-0 success over the Griffins, usually a program that advances to the state tournament.
The scoring leader is one of the sophomore Garcia twins, Amberly, who has turned in a dozen goals. She has taken 21 shots, 18 on goal, and owns 24 points. Her sister, Kimberly, is a good team player even though she has attempted only a pair of shots. Both have played all six games.
Then there’s the Rittmeyer sisters, Maggie, a junior, and Lily, a freshman. They are the two of the best runners on one of the finest cross country programs in 3A. On the pitch, Maggie has come up with 13 shots while playing all six games. Lily, in three outings, has tried 10 shots, eight on goal.
Xitally Estrada Perezcq, a junior, has scored twice and has taken 10 shots. Then there’s freshman Briana Hitt, who has attempted 13 shots, 11 on goal.
The seniors are Justice Salazar and Vilamin Cerra. Of the 18 on the roster, only six have not played every match. Religion has caused Salazar to miss some starts.
Sophomore Liberty Horne and junior Maya Wright share the goalkeeping. Wright has played 280 minutes, has allowed four goals and has made 13 saves. Horne has played 190 minutes, has given up only one goal and has come away with nine saves.
ATC’s District A-3A consists of Rehoboth Christian, Navajo Prep, Monte del Sol, Desert Academy, and Fort Wingate. The Phoenix program began in 2012 under Lou Solnick and had a combined 1-13-1 mark over two seasons.
But along came Segura and his love for the game and patience. Until this super start, he went 23-57-1, but now that’s history, it’s the present he can be proud of.
His current roster consists of two seniors, six juniors, three sophomores, six freshmen, and one 8th grader. Host reports that there is also two talented 7th graders waiting to join the varsity.
Of some of the other quality programs in 3A, Socorro is at 8-1, Hatch Valley at 6-1, East Mountain and St. Michael’s are 6-2, defending state champion Albuquerque Sandia Prep is 4-1, Robertson is 5-2-1, Santa Fe Prep 2-2-1, Santa Fe Indian School and Rehoboth 2-3, Navajo Prep and West Las Vegas each 0-1, and Monte del Sol winless in four starts, and six other schools at 0-0.