CAMP JOHNSON, N.C. --
“I will push you guys and you will most likely get mad,” said Luis Cisneros, the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune soccer team coach, to soccer players during the team’s tryouts Aug. 10. “But, if you want to push yourselves, then this will be your team. I am going to bring your best game out of you.”
Cisneros held the MCB Camp Lejeune Marines soccer team’s fall tryouts Aug. 10, 15 and 16 at the Camp Johnson soccer fields aboard Camp Johnson to identify the players who will fill key positions. Their first game is scheduled for Sept. 11. The season will last until late November.
Due to the constant cycle of Marines and sailors rotating in and out of MCB Camp Lejeune, Cisneros, who also coaches teams in the spring and summer, has to have tryouts every season to fill his team’s roster.
“We have some great players who leave after each season, or deploy,” said the retired Marine of 30 years. “This is the Marine Corps - hey come and go all the time. But, a good way of looking at it is, that one Marine gets stationed in California or overseas, there will be somebody to replace him with just as good talents.”
The Camp Lejeune Marines, the team’s official name, will play in the Onslow Classic Soccer Association in a 12-game season, with tournaments that will bring them to cities such as Wilmington, Charlotte and Raleigh, to just name a few.
Last season, the team took second place, but Cisneros is starting the practice off by reinforcing the fundamentals of the game.
“Basics, basics, basics,” said Cisneros while watching the soccer enthusiasts passing the ball with one-touch passes. “It’s all about the basics. The basics need to be established before we can go any further.”
All in all, there were at least 30 players who showed up, and the roster, according to OCSA rules, allows only 24 players, but as Cisneros puts it, he’ll take every single last one of them as he wants a practice squad and reserve players.
“Right now, I am focusing on the all-around aspects of every player,” said Cisneros. “I currently have five players who returned to the team for this upcoming season, and they were my starters last year. I want to be able to find out who my top-notch soccer players are, and identify who my substitutions will be. Though the OCSA only allows so many players on the roster on game day, I won’t cut anyone because this is the sport they love. We can use them in practice squads or as backups just in case we lose someone for a game or two.
“Some of the guys that are not back on the team either moved or deployed,” said Cisneros, who coached the All-Marine male and female soccer teams from 1986 to 2001. “For the guys who are getting back, I want to make sure that they get to do what they looked forward to do when they got back to the states.”
Cisneros loves winning and the competitiveness of the sport; however, he wants to make sure that his players play with the upmost class during the games.
“We need to represent Camp Lejeune and really the Marine Corps well,” he said. “I want them to play competitively, but not dirty. I want them to be respectful of others. When we play teams out in town, and in other cities, the opposing teams know who they are playing against and they like the fact that they are playing against the Marines – the best. But, when it comes game time, they also want to beat the best.”
To follow the team’s progress, visit www.ocsa-nc.com for standings and schedules.