TUCSON, Ariz. — September 10, 2015 – The All-Marine soccer team visited the University of Arizona for a tour of their sports facilities and an exhibition soccer match, Sept. 9. 2015.
The event was the first the All-Marine soccer team supported as part of Marine Week Phoenix.
“This is huge military town,” said Greg Burns, the athletic director of the University of Arizona. “We appreciate the Marines and there is no way to express how excited we are to have the Marine team here.”
The Marines visited the stadiums and training areas, and the Jim Click Hall of Champions filled with items immortalizing the history of the University of Arizona Wildcats.
“It was an awesome experience to visit these amazing facilities and see what it takes to be a college athlete and their history,” said Cpl. Frank Mercurius, a midfielder for the All-Marine soccer team. “It is really cool to see what is available to us if we decide to try to continue playing sports after the Marine Corps.”
The exhibition match was the first time many of the Marines had played together, and it was the University of Arizona men’s soccer club’s second game of the season; a skillful and tenacious game left spectators unaware of this fact.
“I got chills the first time I read the email the Marines were coming,” said Eric Rhodes, head coach of the Arizona Wildcats men’s soccer club. “It is honor to play these men, who give so much for our country.”
The Marines matched the youth and energy of the Wildcats’ with intelligent and physical play, and Marine Corps toughness.
“It was good game,” said Mercurius. “I was very excited to play this team and see how we stack up.”
The first period of the game ended with the Wildcats scoring a goal close to the half. The Marines scored a goal with ten minutes left in the second period. The Marines held the tie until the Wildcats scored another goal closing the game at 2-1.
“That was the first goal scored on us this season and it was good to see how my guys reacted,” Rhodes said. “The Marines fought the full 90 minutes, which is something new to these guys.
“It was not only a fantastic exhibition match for my guys. My guys learned by the example the Marine set everyday—be excellent in all you do.”
More than 800 Marines are participating in Marine Week Phoenix to give the citizens of the greater Phoenix area the opportunity to meet the individual Marines and celebrate community, country and Corps.