‘Cacti’ specialist applies lifelong soccer skills to All-Army Soccer team

| December 16, 2010 | 0 Comments
Navy Lt. j.g. Kevin Trujillo attempts to steal the ball from Pfc. Christopher Harvey, number 16, during the Armed Forces Men's Soccer Championship match at Morgan Sports Complex, Oct. 24, in Destin, Fla. (Senior Airman Sheila DeVera | 1st Special Operations Wing, U.S. Air Force )

Navy Lt. j.g. Kevin Trujillo attempts to steal the ball from Pfc. Christopher Harvey, number 16, during the Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship match at Morgan Sports Complex, Oct. 24, in Destin, Fla. (Senior Airman Sheila DeVera | 1st Special Operations Wing, U.S. Air Force )

Staff Sgt. Amber Robinson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A “Cacti” Soldier, here, realized his dream of playing soccer for the Army when he was selected and competed in the 2010 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship, recently.

The Army’s team won that championship.

Spc. Chris Harvey, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, turned in his application with high hopes of making the team.

“I began to start to make inquiries about how to get on the (Army) team during my last deployment to Iraq,” Harvey said. “Once I got back, I really started to ask around and ended up talking with Kurt Swanbeck, who is the head coach of West Point’s soccer team. He gave me the names of certain individuals to call and, from there, I was able to make the connections I needed to get on the team.”

After selection for the team, Harvey began to focus hard on training, spending two days a week, for a month, on intensive workouts that included a lot of conditioning and running. He trained with seven other Schofield Barracks Soldiers, who had also made the team, in a couple of matches.

“We played in a local men’s soccer tournament in Virginia Beach and won first place,” Harvey said. “Then, we scrimmaged a men’s team from Newport News and beat them, 10-0!”

Shortly after, the team traveled to Hurlbert Field in Destin, Fla., to play against the Navy for the championship.

“We knew we were going to have to fight for the championship,” he said. “It was war. We played the full 90 minutes of the game and then had to take two, 15-minute halves for extra time to break the score, which was 0-0.”

In the second 15 minutes, Navy scored first, but Army answered immediately with a return goal. The score was finally settled in a shootout, with each team sending five players to take their shot at the goal.

Army won, 4-3, beating Navy after almost two hours of hard competition.

“It was nerve-racking,” Harvey said, “especially when it came down to us shooting those last goals.”

The experience gave Harvey some special memories.

“The team was made up of all ranks,” he said. “In the everyday Army, officers and enlisted are on different levels, and we are required to treat each other different — but not on the field.

“On the field, we were all just soccer players doing what we love,” he said.

To learn more about the Wounded Warrior Project, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

 

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