All-Navy soccer team receives aloha from JBPHH

Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 3rd Class Travis DeLeon, Information Systems Technician 1st Class Jay Reynard and Chief Electrician’s Mate Luis Zamora get together before practice. The trio has been selected to the All-Navy soccer team and will report to camp at Naval Station Norfolk.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

When you’ve reached the level of an all-star player, you know you’ve attained the pinnacle of what it means to be an elite competitor.

In the upcoming All-Navy men’s soccer training camp, Hawaii will be well represented by three Sailors whose applications to the camp were received and approved to join the cream of the nation’s crop.

Chief Electrician’s Mate Luis Zamora, assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific; Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 3rd Class Travis DeLeon, assigned to Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii and Information Systems Technician 1st Class Jay Reynard, assigned to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific will report to the training camp at Naval Station Norfolk starting May 15 and, if chosen, will square off in the All-Military Soccer Tournament June 10.

DeLeon is making his first appearance as a player, while Reynard is one of the assistant coaches, where he will be running the team’s training sessions.

For Zamora, who made his first All-Navy team back in 2002 at the age of 19, this marks the sixth time that he has been selected for the squad.

While Zamora said that his previous experience would help him get through the rigors of the camp, he is going in as a blank slate — ready to tackle every challenge in sight.

“I know what the expectations are, but that doesn’t necessarily get me a foot in the door,” he said. “I do know the process, but I also know that it changes every year.”

Reynard, who along with Zamora, coaches and runs the Armed Forces Hawaii Futbol Club, said that the application process for coaches was just as tough as it was for the players.

He explained that although he has coached soccer for many years, this would be the first time that he will oversee a caliber of players who are skilled above and beyond your average club athlete.

“I’ve played and coached some of the guys before that were prior All-Navy players,” Reynard pointed out. “I know what the skill set is and I know the level of competition that they are going to be playing against. I’m looking forward to playing that high end of soccer.”

While DeLeon may be a rookie player at the camp, the 28-year-old Sailor comes loaded with experience after competing in college and overseas in Europe.

DeLeon said that while it’s great to go up there with a couple of familiar faces in Reynard and Zamora, he understands that making the tournament team would solely depend on him.

“I really don’t know what to think,” he admitted. “I’ve played with a couple of guys who are going to the All-Armed Forces and they’re fairly skilled players. It’s up to me and it’s up to the All-Navy team to match that intensity.”

In his five previous camps and All-Navy teams, Zamora said that this year’s return trip is to take care of some unfinished business.

“We’ve always missed the mark,” he noted. “We’ve always come in second place, so what I have hanging at home are five silver medals. This year will be our gold-medal year.

As a first-year coach, Reynard said that he hopes to introduce some fresh ideas that would pay off for the All-Navy squad and impact its fortunes.

Going up there, Reynard stated that no one is going up to Norfolk with any thoughts of a vacation.

In fact, he said that there is only one goal in mind as the players hop on a plane next week.

“It’s gold medal or bust,” Reynard insisted. “Like Luis said, ‘too many silver medals.’ At the end of the day, to be able to come in and play soccer, we’re going to do it for a reason.”

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Category: Sports