Strong family ties at Hispanic Soccer Championships

A coalition of cultures cheers top-flight soccer
The Mendez family (l-r) Rosa, Tony, Baby Iriana, Stefanie, Augustine, Freddie, Angelica. BY DAVE FREDERICK
August 26, 2014

Family ties - I was asked by Rosa Mendez, mother of former Cape player Tony Mendez, to take his photo at the Aug. 23 Hispanic Soccer League Championships. Tony has just returned from Japan. So I found Tony and his brother Freddie, who had their niece Iriana with them. I looked at Tony and said, “Just back from Japan, do you have Japanese heritage?” He laughed and said,  ”No, I’m in the Marines.” Brother Freddie, who played at Cape when red cards were wild, said, ”We’re Mexican but get mistaken for all kinds of nationalities including Philipino.” I joked they should join the CIA, then considered maybe they were already members. Later I saw the entire Mendez clan after the women’s game was won by Manchester 17 over VB United 3-0 behind two goals from Stefanie Mendez and one by Aline Guzman. Hispanic culture is all about family. I had to keep taking photos until I got them all in the same frame.

Pick a play day - The Cape varsity soccer, volleyball and field hockey teams participated in all-day play days Aug. 23. Soccer, under the direction of new head coach Jay Jenkins, participated in the Kirkwood Soccer Club play day. “We were missing four starters but played well,” Jenkins said.  “We lost to Charter 1-0, tied St. Georges Tech 0-0, beat Wilmington Friends 6-0 and beat Avon Grove 1-0. I should have my entire lineup available for the scrimmage against Delmarva Christian Monday, Aug. 25, which will help me get a better idea of where we are and what we need to focus on.”

The Cape field hockey team participated in the Polytech play day and played five Henlopen Conference teams and Appoquinimink. “We played 26 kids and overall had a good day,” said coach Kate Windett. “We saw some things we need to work on. Our two goalies, Tina Gooding and Riley Shields, both played well.” Field hockey’s next action is an actual game at Laurel Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Cape volleyball hosted an all-day play day and played well, breaking bad and breaking even with Caravel then asserting versatility and depth the rest of the day.

Assistant coach Nick DelCampo, who has been with the program since the beginning, thinks the 2014 team may have the most talent of any Cape team to date, and he can easily see them winning 12 games and making the tournament.

Breaking good - I tell coaches the better your team, the more people who want to coach it. Call it breaking good. Nobody spouts off for very long about how to improve a program with a winning percentage of .200.  And I’m as guilty as the next person, but I sometimes joke to the coach, “Would you like to hear what I would do?” Most immediately say, ”No thanks; if you were so great, you’d still be coaching.” But here’s the bottom line: Just because a team is successful and wins most of its games and wins championships doesn’t mean everything is being done right and that improvements don’t need to be made.

Surf City - More Cape athletes should look like surfers but most never drop a foot in the ocean let alone body surf, ride boogie boards or ride large swells on long boards. During the Middletown at Cape scrimmage Aug. 23, I saw a young Vikings player on the sidelines with tiny yet stylish glasses and rock star hair and posted his photo on Facebook captioned, “Why I like covering high school sports.”

The player is Devin Bennett with a story to tell. From his mom Lynn Michelle: “A result of high surf (Hurricane Bertha) and a solid 10-foot surfboard to his face. He is doing very well. Lip is all healed, where his teeth went through. Teeth are still wired.”

Junk Yard Dog Award - A preseason favorite for my Junk Yard Dog Award is Amanda Atkinson. The girl is an athletic beast. Played field hockey all day Saturday for Cape then showed up at night to play for Manchester in the women’s final of the Hispanic soccer league and never came off the field. Amanda just assimilated herself into the action; she is always off the leash and running free.

Wicket Pickets - I started my 14-hour photojournalism day Aug. 23 watching volleyball warm up and cleverly caught a one-bounce kill shot with my crotch before breaking into a medley of the Bee Gees’ greatest hits. This began my long day’s journey into the night but by bedtime I was back to sounding like Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour.”

Snippets - Delaware opens the season at Pittsburgh Saturday, Aug. 30, before returning home Saturday, Sept. 6, to play Delaware State at 6 p.m. The television gets better and the attendance at games continues to go down. It’s big old flat screen in the garage season. Go on now, git!


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