With new talent added to its roster, San Quentin’s revamped soccer team extended its winning streak to two games by beating a tough Outsider squad, 3-2, June 21.
“Our plan was to attack on offense and pressure the ball on defense,” SQ team captain Tare “Cancún” Beltranchuc said.
For most of the Outsider players, losing on San Quentin turf was foreign.
The Outsiders have dominated the SQ club since changing their team name from the All Blacks to the Outsiders about year ago.
“It was my first loss,” said Kevin Lin, who made his third appearance as an Outsider. “I’m a bit disappointed about that.”
San Quentin came out aggressively, pushing the ball as if it were their last drive.
The strong wind gusts aided SQ’s attack.
In the 15th minute, midfielder Beltranchuc blasted the ball through the Outsider defense and into the back of the net for a score. Outsider goalie Jake Bishop, who wore a neon pink and yellow Mexican National Team jersey with the name “Campos” on the back, never had a chance.
In the 37th minute, SQ winger Tu Long scored an impressive goal from well outside the box. It looked like the wind might have assisted Long.. The Outsiders subbed out Juan Basulto for SQ’s own Jaime Sanchez, because Diana Gama, representing the Outsiders, was unable to play due to institutional policy, which disallows women from participating in contact sports.
“I was expecting to play,” said Gama, who plays in coed matches outside prison walls.
The score remained two-nil at the half.
In the 70th minute, Brian Nichols brought the Outsiders within one goal, scoring his first goal in his first appearance as an Outsider at San Quentin. “I told you,” said Nichols, who prophesied during pregame warm-ups that he would score at least once.
As soon as the Outsiders started to gain momentum, the prison alarm sounded and stopped the game.
“That alarm killed our momentum,” Nichols said.
The match resumed in the 110th minute, with 20 more minutes of extra time.
San Quentin remained aggressive on offense and retreated quickly to defend. They were relentless.
Newcomer Ronald Luna scored the last SQ goal in 105th minute, making it 3-1 SQ.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was kid,” said Luna, who practically walked-on to the team with his skill and passion for the sport. “I’d rather do that than anything else.”
“I wasn’t expecting to play an outside team,” said Luna, who came to the U.S. from El Salvador with his family when he was 12-years-old. “That’s kind of cool,” the El Salvador native added. “That’s kind of cool.”
The Outsiders scored their final goal in the 110th minute with the help of incarcerated player Carlos Ramirez, also a native of El Salvador.
Like soccer matches all over the world, the game ended with hugs and handshakes from both sides.