2019 was a big year as a whole for the soccer community here in San Antonio. We here at Soy San Antonio witnessed and experienced some great memories throughout the season and met many wonderful people. We expanded our coverage of high school, college and USL soccer. We even went international! Here’s our top 10 favorite moments of 2019 in the San Antonio futbol scene.
10. Preseason match San Antonio FC v El Paso Locomotive
It was the fourth preseason match of the year but it was the first time we saw SAFC in action live and it was the first time we saw Cristian Parano play. Although it ended in a nil-nil draw, the youngster from Argentina impressed and made some magical plays. We knew right there he was special and it set up for an outstanding season for Parano.
9. San Antonio Athenians play FC Austin Elite at Bold Stadium
It was a momentous occasion for the UWS and both clubs as they played at Bold Stadium home of the USL’s Austin Bold for the first time ever. It was a great crowd and atmosphere. The match showed both cities are passionate about women’s soccer.
8. OLLU’s Norberto Lira with a banger in the RRAC tournament
Lira’s goal from just outside the penalty box and clanked the post in the 77th minute sealed the victory over Texas A&M Texarkana in the first round of the Red River Athletic Conference tournament. It was wild match that ended with seven red cards but that’s a story for another day.
7. The Present and the Future
It was just a small moment before a SAFC match in May. We captured this photo of the youth from Alamo City and the first team of SAFC in the background.
6. UTSA’s Deja Sandoval header
Deja Sandoval had a signature match versus Southern Miss and scored two goals. This was the first goal, off a corner which turned into a beautifully placed header, Deja would go on to score the game winner in the 72nd minute. The sunset in the background made this goal memorable. Our TikTok (@soy_saf TV) version of this goal has gained over 1900 views and over 250 likes, making it our most popular post on TikTok.
5. Rafa Castillo’s emotional goal
After missing much of the season, Rafa made his first start of the season versus OKC Energy and didn’t waste any time to score. We captured the raw emotion of Rafa’s celebration and it hit us right in the feels. A perfect moment in the beautiful game.
4. St. Mary University men’s soccer Sweet 16 run
For the first time in St. Mary’s history the men’s soccer team reached the NCAA tournament and made it to the Sweet 16. The Rattlers finished 15-3-3 and were lead by Ollie Wright with 8 goals and 12 assists.
3. Keeley Ayala 2OT game winner
It was a back and forth match with UIW coming out on top 3-2 over Sam Houston State. The football team was out there to support and when Keeley hit the game winner they rushed the field to celebrate in a truly exciting moment.
2. Two International Matches in two different countries in One Day
For the first time in Soy_SAF history, we covered two international matches in two different countries on the same day. Benji was at the Alamodome to cover Mexico vs Argentina international friendly while Miguel was in Providenciales on the island nation of Turks and Caicos to cover the National team play Guadelope in a CONCACAF Nations League match. Just weeks earlier we attended the Tata Martino press conference and met with Tata and San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg. We were humbled to be able to achieve such a feat and thank CONCACAF, MLS, SUM, TCIFA and CONMEBOL for making it possible.
1. LEE High School boys soccer UIL State semi-final win
It was a historic run for the LEE Volunteers, they colored San Antonio red as the entire city supported LEE. LEE was victorious over Woodland Park 3-1. and was LEE’s first appearance in UIL State Final since 1997. We followed LEE from the bi-districts all the way to huge state semi-final win in Georgetown. The crowd in Georgetown was amazing and team electrified with their play on the pitch. Making this our favorite moment of 2019.