MANTECA- After a tough outing against the Almaden Football Club out of San Jose in their second game of the Champions Club 2017 soccer tournament, president of the Patterson Strikers and head coach of the U-15 girls squad Jose Rubio urged his players to keep their heads up and continue to work hard at practice. It wasn’t an easy experience for the Patterson Strikers U15 girls squad, but like many new sports programs, the pains of growing up can be tough to endure.

This was the program’s first foray into a traditional club soccer tournament. The Patterson Strikers had only competed in one indoor and a beach soccer tournament in San Francisco and Santa Cruz respectively, leading into their games at Woodward Park in Manteca on Saturday. The squad is still maneuvering through the difficult process of developing a new club soccer team, but for Rubio and company it is not about wins and losses.

“We aren’t necessarily looking for wins and losses, but player development for players that are looking to play in high school and college,” Rubio said.

The Patterson Strikers are looking to field teams of all ages, and have already formed a U10 and U9 boys teams to go along with the originally formed U15 girls team. But the Patterson Strikers do not want to stop there, and have higher aspirations both for the program and their players’ potential.

“We are hoping that by this time next year we can roster and field a team of each age group competitively,” Rubio said. “With the staff that I have and the philosophy we carry, we will succeed.” 

Rubio explained the idea that sparked the organization originated when his daughter Isabel, who had quit playing soccer, expressed interest in starting again. Rubio, who previously helped run the recreation program for Tracy F.C., told his daughter to find other girls who felt the same. There was an immediate interest of 10-13 girls who all wanted to get back into the sport.

“Ever since then it’s worked out great,” Rubio said.

The Strikers are a year- round program. They spend December and January playing indoor soccer at Turlock Indoor Soccer. The months of February through July will consist of tournament play, and the Strikers plan to be ready for the fall league of NorCal Premier League next September.

Rubio expressed that anyone interested in playing for the Patterson Strikers does not need talent, but rather desire.

“You don’t need to be talented, but instead be willing to work and commit,” Rubio said.

The program is looking to recruit boys and girls of all ages, and stated that their goal is to develop players who want to play at the next level. The Patterson Striker program is optimistic that with the right attitude, any player willing can achieve their goals of playing soccer at a higher level.

“You let me do my part, and you do your part and there will be a scholarship at the end of the rainbow,” Rubio said.

The team can be found practicing at the field behind Apricot Valley Elementary School Monday through Wednesday from 5-7:30 p.m. Interested parents or players can reach Jose Rubio at (209)422-5741 for more information.

PI sports writer

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