By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Andre T. Richard

BREMERTON, Wash. – He skillfully kicked the soccer ball over his opponent’s head and sped toward the goal, advancing on a defender. At the last second, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Joseph Arthur, from Dallas, passed the ball to a teammate who connected with a header that zipped the ball into the opposing team’s net, allowing Arthur and his team [FC Stennis] to remain undefeated.

FC Stennis, from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), was formed during the ship’s 2010 deployment in order to allow crew members an opportunity to represent Stennis to a diverse and international audience at various port visits.

“I have played with FC Stennis in Malaysia, Singapore and Bahrain,” said Arthur. “It’s a great opportunity to connect with different societies through a common passion for soccer.”

According to team captain, Engineman 1st Class Eduardo Quintanilla, from Yakima, Wash., FC Stennis welcomes the diversity each player brings to the team.

“This team is a great way to bring people from different backgrounds together,” said Quintanilla. “It is a one-team effort regardless of rank or background.”

The team practices twice a week at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton soccer field, in which players work on ball-handling and physical conditioning drills, and compete in scrimmage matches.

“We practice hard to build and maintain our endurance,” said Quintanilla. “This allows us to maintain our competitive edge and our team strength.”

To many on FC Stennis, soccer is more than just a sport, it is a way of life.

“After playing for more than 20 years, soccer has become a passion not just a hobby,” said Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Jairo Guerrero, from Monterey Bay, Calif. “It helps me get my mind off of the work day and relax.”

FC Stennis is currently competing in the Stennis’ Captain’s Cup and other indoor soccer tournaments at Pendergast Indoor Soccer Facility. The team says that they are excited for the summer season and are ready to represent Stennis pride and performance on the field.

Stennis is currently undergoing a Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

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