Coming back to Salinas to play a high school soccer game on Tuesday wasn’t as surreal of an experience as Alexis Smith had experienced before.
The Salinas native, who is the goalkeeper at Valley Christian High, knew some of the players on the Salinas High girls soccer team, but not as many as last year’s squad.
“It’s always nice to come back and see where you’re from and see old friends,” Smith said.
The goalkeeper kept Salinas off the board, making four saves in a 2-0 win.
The following day, Smith made six saves as the Warriors defeated The King’s Academy 5-0.
Getting a shutout is what is on the forefront of Smith’s mind. She has her eyes on breaking the school record of 15 shutouts.
She said it was a little weird to get a shutout against the school she probably would have attended had she stayed in Salinas. Smith has ties to the town, having played for Salinas Valley Youth Soccer and the Monterey County Football Club. She attended schools in the Washington Union School District, where she clearly remembers challenging the boys in random three-flies-up games.
But she and her family moved to San Jose to attend Valley Christian because of her love of math. Even with all of her soccer success, she wants to pursue a career that focuses on her math skills.
On the field, she is a notable standout. She is considered one of the top 150 high school girls soccer players in the nation and one of the top 15 high school girls goalkeepers in the nation.
Smith said she doesn’t mind being noted as a top standout.
“It’s an extra way to know that I’m doing something right,” Smith said.
In addition to keeping opponents scoreless, Smith wants to work on setting up teammates for a breakaway by throwing the ball instead of letting everyone clear out and then kick it.
“I want to throw the ball out to the 50-yard line,” Smith said. “I can kick it past the 50, no problem.”
Goalkeeping still provides a challenge for Smith, who didn’t move full time to the position until her freshman year. She was a forward before that.
And she’ll likely be a goalkeeper when she heads to the University of Tennessee next fall.
Alisal alum eyes World Cup gig
Ernesto Arambula hopes to be among the many who head to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.
But if he somehow goes, it’ll be to do work.
Thousands of hopeful reporters have tried out to be a reporter for ESPN during next year’s World Cup. After several weeks, Arambula is one of the finalists.
He said he will know his fate by the end of the month. He said he’s a fan of a lot of sports, but soccer trumps them all.
“I think that has put me above the competition for now,” Arambula said.
Arambula was one of many who went to the ESPN offices in downtown Los Angeles to submit his profile. Each phase of the tryout is different. He first had to answer 20 trivia questions heavily related to soccer. He passed that with ease.
He was called back to ESPN for the second test, which was to come up with a script in five minutes about a recent sporting event. That nearly derailed him.
“It’s a whole different thing coming up with a script and then being on camera talking about it,” Arambula said.
But he passed. Now, ESPN is paying attention to how he presents himself on social media and how he talks sports and promotes his own work.
The 2008 Alisal High grad isn’t just resting on this hope to be an ESPN reporter. He has a one-hour radio show and does some announcing for his alma mater’s boys soccer team.
His radio show has helped him open up and be more confident. And he doesn’t want to mimic another standout news media person.
“I just want to be me, and people have told me to be me,” Arambula said. “If I try to be like someone else, I won’t make it.”
Even if he doesn’t make the cut, the experience of getting this far in the ESPN tryout will help him with future projects, he said.
“If everything is good, I’ll make the cut and go to Brazil, but even if I don’t, I’ll have this experience,” Arambula said.
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula is hosting a seminar Thursday to talk about how children and their families should deal with sports injuries.
Peter Gerbino, an orthopedic surgeon, will talk about common and rare sports-related injuries and how they should be treated.
The seminar will take place at the Peninsula Wellness Center, 2920 Second Ave., Marina. For information, call 1-888-452-4667.
Ashen, Lombardi honored
CSU Monterey Bay volleyball player Julia Ashen was named an NCAA Division II West Region All-Star earlier this week after a big regular season in conference play.
Ashen, a North Salinas High alum, is the second CSUMB player to receive first-team all-region honors. Ashen had a conference best 4.31 kills per set, which put her 11th in the nation. She also tallied 500 kills this season, second best in the conference.
By receiving the honor, Ashen is a finalist to be selected to the All-America and Academic All-America teams, which will be announced Wednesday. Ashen is also eligible to be an Academic All-American, having a 4.0 GPA.
Carmel High alum Brittany Lombardi, who attends UC San Diego, was named to the second team.
Glenn Cravens is a sports reporter for The Salinas Californian. Contact him at email@example.com or 754-4267. Follow him on Twitter at @glenn_salnews.