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Coyotes host tryouts for local Major Arena Soccer team

Angel Ulloa


Putting together the pieces to their new franchise, the El Paso Coyotes held open tryouts on Thursday, July 21. The Coyotes will be debuting in the Major Arena Soccer League starting in late October. The three-day tryouts will be held through Saturday at the El Paso County Coliseum in attempts to finalize the roster.

For club president and co-owner Gil Cantu this was a dream that took four years to materialize.

“People in El Paso are going to love it,” Cantu said. “They’re going to love it because it’s indoor…you will see a lot of lights, music and the cheerleaders performing at halftime.”

The MASL is an international league with teams in the United States, Mexico and Canada. It is a professional soccer league with teams competing at the highest level of indoor soccer in the world. The season takes place from November through March.

Prior to the Coyotes, Cantu spent time running clubs such as the El Paso Cobras, the Juarez Indios, as vice president, and Indios USA. The difference, as Cantu says, between the clubs to this one is not only the league, but also the excitement that comes along with the sport.

“Every little aspect of this sport, from the food to the entertainment and the huge video screen, just makes us so honored to have this sport,” Cantu said. “We couldn’t be happier; we’re very anxious to get everything going.”

Although it is a relatively young league without the importance of soccer leagues like Major League Soccer or the North American Soccer League—both full field soccer leagues—indoor soccer and the MASL present an opportunity for all involved with the Coyotes.

“Major Arena Soccer League is growing,” Cantu said. “It is the highest level of Major Arena Soccer in the world. For us, it is something big. For players in the area, it’s motivation because they have opportunities to be professionals and to be apart of this beautiful event.”

Community involvement is one of the reasons why Cantu, who’s been in El Paso since the 80’s, brought the club to the city. Giving back to the community and providing opportunities your El Paso’s own is very important to him.

I love El Paso. … I’m blessed to be living here. From the Chihuahuas, to the Miners, to the Patriots—we’re just another option working to bring a little grain of sand to the community,” Cantu said. “At the same time, we want people to find identification with us so they can see their own players, students, kids or workers playing with us.”
Bel Air 2008 graduate Omar Tena hopes to bring that homegrown aspect that Cantu explained to the Coyotes. He has plenty of experience playing 11-on-11 soccer, which he hopes helps him land a spot on the team. He played for Indios, Division I Cal State-Fullerton and the El Paso Patriots.

“I take it as one of my last opportunities,” Tena said. “It would mean a great goal was accomplished for myself if I made the team. I hope that I do make the team, especially for my family members who have supported me along the way, and for the younger kids that I could help them and introduce them into the sport.”

Spectating was Coyotes head coach Hector Eugui. was taking notes and keeping his eye on the different talents that came his way.

“We are looking for attitude, the order in the game, and talent,” Eugui said. “The goalie is very important in the sport. Also we look for the thinking and the talent for each player.”

Eugui, originally from Uruguay, has vast experience in the world of soccer as a player and coach. During his 11 years as a player he belonged to clubs as Uruguay’s Nacional and Mexican first division clubs Toluca and Tigres. From 1999 to 2012 he coached teams such as Toluca, Monterrey, Puebla and Indios.

He believes that the differences between traditional outdoor soccer and indoor soccer are few, but the quickness is the biggest contrast.

“Indoor soccer is a lot more dynamic–you don’t stop. There’s a lot of physical play and you have to have talent to understand it’s a quick-thinking sport,” Eugui said. “You have to be quicker on the plays and the play in your mind and the play on your feet.”

Agreeing with Eugui on the game’s speed, Tena did not have to adjust too dramatically for the sport.

“If you played outdoor, you could catch on to playing indoor,” Tena said. “I’ve played indoor, amateur wise, so it’s not too big of a difference. The challenge is playing with the younger guys because they like to run a lot. Experience is where you have to make the difference.”

Like Cantu, Eugui believes this is a new milestone in his life that he wants to hold on to.

“It’s a new part of my life,” Eugui said. “It’s everything in soccer that makes it exciting—the players, the game, the fans and the media. I’m very excited.”

And like Cantu and Eugui, Cantu believes the El Paso audience will be flabbergasted over the club and their 10-game season. The Coliseum seats a total of 5,200 people; however, Cantu said the team’s goal is not only to sell out one game, but to sell out every game.

“The coliseum can only seat 5,200 people here. That’s only 0.6 percent of the total population in El Paso, which does not count Las Cruses and Juarez,” Cantu said. “With my experience in other teams, we had 12,000 for the Patriots in 2004 at the SAC. With the Indos, at the Olympic stadium, we had 22,000 people. 5,000 will be easy.”

The three-day tryout, from where the majority of the roster will be constructed, will conclude Saturday. The club will have 20 to 22 members on the roster hich will be officially announced ith a press conference in August.

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Coyotes host tryouts for local Major Arena Soccer team