Varsity Soccer Dominates Castleberry Tournament

Varsity+Soccer+Dominates+Castleberry+Tournament

Last week, the St. Thomas Varsity Soccer Team went undefeated against their five opponents in the Castleberry Tournament, claiming the tournament title in Fort Worth, Texas. Going into the tournament, the team had a record of eight wins, three ties, and two losses and, although many of the players were shocked by the 30-degree weather, the St. Thomas Eagles heated up and dominated on the pitch to add five wins to their record. Led by head coach, Kenny Martin, and assistant coaches, James Moore and Johnny Usen, the Eagles outscored their opponents 11-2. 

After a four-hour drive, the players quickly warmed up and prepared for their next three division games that would qualify them for the final four bracket. In hopes of starting off the tournament with a win, the St. Thomas Eagles faced off against the Lake Worth Frogs. Left winger Ben Garcia ’22 began the St. Thomas scoring run, followed by center back Evan Crosswait ’22 from a corner kick and star striker Mambo Tello ’25 from a bending free kick into the top left of the net. The Eagles easily put up 3 goals in the first half and continued a clean sheet of goals through the second half. Striker John Brooks ’22 put up an incredible goal, capitalizing on the defenses mistakes and scoring his first goal of the season. The Eagles would go on to win 4-0 against the Frogs. 

“Scoring my first goal felt casual. Business is business. Some people breathe I score goals,” John Brooks ’22 said. 

The next day, Friday, January 7, the St. Thomas Eagles prepared for their two games against the Decatur Eagles and Celina Bobcats. Neither Decatur or STH could score in the first half; however, Mambo Tello ’25 scored yet another goal in the second half to win the game for the St. Thomas Eagles 1-0. In the next game, the Eagles would be facing off against former STH assistant soccer coach and current Celina High school coach, Cody Moles. The St. Thomas Eagles and Celina Bobcats rose to the top of their division and played against each other in a decisive game to determine who would move on to the bracket rounds. The pair of freshmen, Mambo Tello ’25 and Nico Gleason ’25, scored a combined total of three goals to win the game 3-1, to claim the rivalry belt against the Celina Bobcats, and to advance the soccer team to the semi-final round. 

“The exhilarating feeling of scoring against our Celina rivals felt amazing and realizing that I could make an impact as a freshman on the Varsity level was something special that I will always remember,” Nico Gleason ’25 said. 

On Saturday, January 8, the St. Thomas Varsity Soccer team gave it their all in the single elimination semifinal against the Sunnyvale Raiders. After both teams went scoreless in the first half again, Mambo Tello ’25 scored his 5th goal of the tournament to defeat the Raiders 1-0 and put them in the championship game against the South Hills Scorpions. In the first half, after going down 0-1, Mambo Tello ’25 once again scored the equalizer going into half time. The Eagles came out roaring in the second half, maintaining possession, and forcing mistakes on the Scorpion offense. Midfielder Santi Labarthe ’22 scored the winning goal off a rebound and helped bring the trophy back to campus. 

“Nothing beats the feeling of scoring a goal, let alone helping your team win the championship. I am very happy we won; I think the whole trip got us more prepared for district. More to come,” Mambo Tello ’25 said. 

The St. Thomas Varsity Soccer team completely dominated their competition and took home the STH Celina Belt and Fort Worth Castleberry Tournament Trophy. 

The tournament was a splendid experience for the team. Not only did we play exceptionally well to bring home the trophy, but we also brought our team chemistry to an all-time high. Something that I believe will take us all the way this year” Midfielder and Captain Ruben Vara ’22 said.

227