The San Quentin Soccer B-team was shut out 4-0 by the visiting Outsiders, but the players were still smiling because the soccer program has grown enough to have two teams. New volunteers have lined up to play and even coach.
“Thanks for a great game,” Tare “Cancun” Beltranchuc, an A-team soccer player, told the Outsiders after the game. “We are all winners because it’s about building community.”
While soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, it wasn’t organized at San Quentin until sponsor Andrew Crawford came along in 2016. Since then, the program has hosted visits from the former San Francisco Deltas soccer team that won the 2017 North American Soccer League Championship. The SQ squads now also have new cleats and may soon get new coaches.
For the June 9 game, three former Claremont-McKenna College women’s soccer team members came in to coach the Outsiders to victory. They were Sam Kunz, Kerry Moller and Laura Hayward.
“If the B-team had us coaching, they’d win,” said Hayward. “I wish I could have played.”
Muller, who visited once before with Kunz, said, “We won both times we were here.”
For Kunz, it was her last visit for a while. She is going to Africa with the Peace Corps.
“We had lots of fun,” Kunz said. “I’ll have stories from my time here.”
The Outsiders win came with the help of SQ A-team goalie Marco Villa.
“He killed it,” Outsider Dario Abramskiehn said. “He had numerous saves in the second half.”
In a previous game the week before, Crawford played goalie against the A-team.
The A-team won 10-7.
“if y’all think I did it…just give me a lawyer, dawg, ‘cause this is not what’s up.” Warren Demesme said during police questioning. The Louisiana Supreme Court held that this reference was too ambiguous to count as a request for counsel. REASON Magazine, January 2018
San Quentin has A and B teams that play visiting members of the community because so many incarcerated people want to play.
“We have two teams, and everyone wants to be on the A-Team,” Crawford said. “The A-team is better. The B-team is used as a teaching ground for A-Team. That kind of competition is healthy, and there are really good players on both teams.”
During this game, the B-team was not able to score or keep the Outsiders from scoring.
Kevin Lin made the first goal for the Outsiders. Jordi Ortiz made the next. Abramskienhn assisted Christian Cervantes to make the third goal then scored one himself with help from teammate Rohit Ramchandani.
“I think both teams are competitive,” Abramskienhn said. “Last week we got our tails handed to us. We came with more of everything this week.”
Outsider Sugandan Barthy added, “It was lovely playing with you guys. Soccer is a beautiful sport – it brings people together.”
After the game ended, both teams stood in a circle on the field and discussed what the program means to them.
“It’s an eye opener – really humbling and life changing,” Raphael Barrios said. The 21-year-old had just arrived at San Quentin three weeks before the game. “I grew up playing soccer, and the fact that I could come here and play makes a huge difference.”
Beltranchuc added, “We’re trying to create a safe space where we can let out our stress. Last year we had nothing; now we have cleats. Without you, we’d still have nothing. I know we did something wrong, and we acknowledge that, but we’re still human and still have some worth.”
Crawford gave the final thought. “We’re growing every season. Every time I come in, it’s another step forward – we’re always adding new people from inside and outside. Every hour I put in is worth it.”