BREMERTON, Wash. – By day, Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Jairo Guerrero works toward wrapping up USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) maintenance period, but after work he’s a part of the Stennis soccer team that won every match played during the 2014 Captain’s Cup.
The team, FC Stennis, consists of Sailors from up on the flight deck and all the way down to the seventh deck engineering spaces.
From seaman to lieutenant junior grade, all share a deep passion for soccer.
According to Guerrero, whose first Christmas gift was a soccer ball, it’s more than just a sport. Soccer is a way of life. Even the name, Futbol Club Stennis, is a tribute to the footy culture many of the team members come from. Guerrero’s heritage established a love for soccer at a young age.
“A lot of us have been playing most of our lives,” he said. “I can’t imagine myself not playing soccer. It’s been a big part of my life for 22 years.”
The team has a lot of prior experience between its members, which, according to Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Alan Lovos, was a major contributing factor to the team’s success in their seven tournament games.
“Most of our players are just on a completely different level,” he said. “We’re heads and shoulders above the rest.”
The tournament pitted eight teams against each other in double elimination format with the title match played on Sept. 9. FC Stennis swept the competition. Despite the team members’ different jobs, ranks and backgrounds they formed a community who share the same dedication to play soccer to the best of their potential.
At work, Lt. j.g. James Matuszak is an officer, but, when he plays, the only thing that matters is his merit as a soccer player. According to him, rank is no issue with the team members, and when they’re together they rely on each other’s abilities.
“The main thing that led to our success was team chemistry,” he said. “I was extremely confident that if I passed someone the ball they could move forward with it.”
That consistent team chemistry was built from practicing together twice a week year round. The teamwork they had was paramount to their success at Captain’s Cup, said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Joseph Arthur.
“We all had to come together as one to make sure we were successful,” said Arthur.
According to Guerrero, some members of the team have tried out for the all-Navy soccer team and hope to someday represent the Navy at a higher level.
Stennis is currently undergoing a DPIA maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. For more news from USS John C. Stennis visit http://www.stennis.navy.mil and http://www.facebook.com/stennis 74.