The buzz surrounding Amarillo’s first professional soccer organization, FC Amarillo, will be on full display Sunday afternoon when the club hosts its inaugural game against FC Lubbock at 4 p.m. in the Cal Farley Coliseum Amarillo Civic Center Complex.
Like Amarillo, FC Lubbock is a new franchise.
“I think we look really good,” FC Amarillo coach Chad Webb said, who is also the head women’s soccer coach at West Texas A&M. “I knew most of these guys before we started this project, not all of them. I knew they were talented. Over the past month and a half, I’ve seen them really grow and all seem sharper, faster and more fit then they were a month and a half ago.”
Amarillo FC defender Sergio Cavazos said practice sessions have been intense and the chance to play in a front of a home crowd is definitely on the players minds.
“I think everyone is nervous but it is more excitement,” Cavazos said. “Everybody is bringing their ‘A’ game to every practice and they are every intense. I feel very confident.”
Sunday’s match will be the first of two exhibition games FC Amarillo will play over the next two weekends.
The goal for FC Amarillo is to showcase their talent and give fans a chance to preview FC Amarillo, which will kick off their first season next year in the United States Arena Soccer League, which is sanctioned by the North American Futsal Federation.
Many players listed on FC Amarillo are playing on their first professional team in their young careers. For Cavazos, this is an exciting to get the opportunity to play on his first professional team after playing outdoor soccer the past two years as center back player for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
“When you are on the field, you forget everything,” Cavazos said. “You feel amazing playing with the guys. We have so many talented guys and it’s always fun.”
Players to take note of as the game progresses will be midfielder Nick Coulson, who has height that can win headers in the midfield area, along with Julio Molina, who has speed up front that will be lethal to any defenders on the back line.
Local talent is also on the team as Ivan Rodriguez and midfielder John Cox played at Amarillo High, while Palo Duro High is represented by midfielder Cavazos and Abel Olivias.
Felipe Silva and Victor Patriani are a pair of Brazilian players who have completed their college soccer eligibility at West Texas A&M.
For those unfamiliar with indoor soccer, the field is less wide than the outdoor field that everyone is accustomed to seeing when fans watch a soccer match on TV. The field is about the same size of a regulation size hockey rink. Fans also might take note as the penalty area will be smaller in size, with no 18-yard penalty area. Instead, the penalty area is round-shaped and 20 feet from the goal line.
The goal is also smaller in size, which measures six and a half feet high by 12 feet wide.
Fans watching the game can expect a high-paced game with some stoppages as fouls will be identical with the outdoor game.
“There are some similarities to the outdoor game,” Webb said. “From a guy like me that comes from the outdoor game, there are fewer similarities to the way you play indoors than there are outdoor when I realized as I was starting this. You still have to defend, attack, pass and shoot but the way you go about it is pretty different than the outdoor game.”
For the fans that will sit at the ends of the arena, the same glass that will be used during the Amarillo Bulls hockey games, will be used to prevent the ball to head into the stands, a feature that the outdoor game does not use as it will be used to increase the pace of the game.
Another change that will be seen in the number of players on the field. In outdoor soccer, its 11 vs. 11 in terms of players on the field, including the goal keeper. In indoor soccer, it is a total of six players, including the goal keeper for each team. Fans familiar with indoor soccer may tag the sport, “five-a-side,” as the main five players are on the field with the goalkeeper in the back.
“These guys are pumped about this,” Webb said. “I don’t know if they are nervous at all.”
Fans looking for tickets can go to panhandletickets.com or call (806) 378-3096.
2018 FC Amarillo roster
#3 – Chris Johnson; #30 – Fredo Chavez
#5 – John Cox; #6 – Sergio Cavazos; #9 – Oscar Davila; #14 – Darus Caddell; #23 – Brad Williamson; #24 – Ivan Rodriguez.
#7 – Alex Cervantes; #10 – Victor Patriani; #11 – Rafael Visconellos; #13 – Nestor Morales; #15 – Julio Molina; #19 – Abel Olivias;
#8 – Conrod Goulbourne; #12 – Felipe Silva; #17 – Nick Coulson; #18 – Christian Ramos ; #21 – Jager Koshan.