It was all strictly a fun time Monday afternoon when Douglas High School’s alumni and present-day players took the field for the annual alumni soccer games.
For the record, the women and men played scrimmages. No score was kept. Two coaches from the touring UK International Soccer Camps came out to officiate.
Ah, but there was still a little bit of pride at stake on the Douglas soccer field on an overcast afternoon that produced only a few sprinkles of rain. Teresa (Belle) Chamness simply smiled late in the second half after she was informed the current Douglas soccer girls were locked in a tie with the alums.
“We’re paying attention (to the score),” said Chamness, a ’95 Douglas graduate who played for the Tigers’ first NIAA-sanctioned girls soccer team in 1992. “We have to know who won.”
The alumni punched in a go-ahead score just moments before the final whistle, however, players from both sides greeted each other enthusiastically shoot hands afterward and later posed together for photographers. They had, after all, collaborated to organize two teams since the alumni needed some help to field a complete lineup with substitutes.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Werner Christen, who is entering his first season as head coach for the Douglas program. “We didn’t have the numbers we would have liked (among the alumni girls), but the younger and older kids filled in and it turned out to be a success.”
Christen was rooting for both sides, of course, since his daughters Britney and Lisa played for the alumni (Britney scored a goal).
“I’m rooting for a tie,” he said while pacing the sideline.
Milko Vasquez, who is starting his second stint as head coach of the Tigers’ boys program, echoed those words.
“It’s all good,” said Vasquez, who served as coach for the boys program for 11 years (six as head coach) before his retirement at the end of the 2010 season. “It’s fun seeing these kids come back here and to see them play. To see the kids play, that’s what’s important.”
Seventeen alumni boys turned out, including Eddie Vega (2007 Sierra League Midfielder of the Year who led the Tigers to a regional championship and state runner-up finish) who went on to play for American River College and UNLV, Jeremy Louthan (who set a school single-season scoring record before he graduated in 1999), and T.J. Plummer, who is now coaching the Douglas JV boys. Among the girls were Kassidy Freitas (2014 grad who was the Sierra League’s Defensive Player of the Year) and Amber Gwinn (a 2003 grad and now the girls head coach at Bishop Manogue High School).
Chamness, who was the oldest player on the field, enjoyed her time playing on the defensive end of the field.
“I still play coed adult soccer, but I haven’t played for a season, so I’m out of breath,” she laughed. “It’s a really good time, but with all this young talent, I’ll just hang in the back and play some defense.”
She was a member of the 1992 Douglas team that compiled a 6-3-2 record under coach Gunther Bartsch and the ‘93 team that won 10 games and qualified for the playoffs under coach Dan Makley.
“Coach Makley was definitely one of my favorite coaches,” Chamness said. “He told me, ‘Teresa, you’re not the best player on this team, but you are tenacious. You never give up.’ I’ve always remembered that.”
Chamness, now a mother who works as a Carson Valley realtor, used that tenacity to fight back from open heart surgery in 2008.
“After that, I started playing volleyball, softball and soccer ... I wanted to stay healthy so I decided to do something about it,” she said. “That’s why I started coming back for the alumni game. I just love soccer so much.”
Monday actually marked the first time any of the current Douglas Tigers have played together. Tryouts for the boys varsity and JV teams will be held on Saturday from 8-10 a.m. and 2-4 p.m., then on Monday and Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. Tryouts for the girls team begin Saturday, then on Monday and Tuesday.
The girls kick off their season Aug. 28-30 with a series of games in Las Vegas, including tests against Centennial, Green Valley and two-time defending Division I state champion Arbor View. The boys face Dayton in a scrimmage on Aug. 23, then open their regular season on Aug. 30 at home against North Tahoe.