For the first time in Oxnard College’s history, their soccer team won the state championship on December 6, 2015 defeating Evergreen Valley College 2-1 in overtime. It was all team effort according to the goalie who leaped to make a stunning save that helped secure the victory. He told the Ventura Count Star, “”But we stayed together. That’s our motto — ‘Juntos‘ — we stayed together until the very end.” This victory shows how discipline and teamwork can lead to success. Many of these players are first-generation student athletes who come from mixed status families. The team victory reminded me of the Los Jets team that won the North Carolina soccer title. The coach Paul Caudros wrote about this remarkable victor in A Home on the Field.
The college team tile was not Oxnard’s first state soccer title, however. In 1974, Club Anahuac won the state title in the California Soccer League. The Anahuac club was founded in 1961 by brothers Miguel and Jose Perez and held weekend practices at Wilson School field on A Street and Palm Drive. The Oxnard Courier reported that Paul Gutierrez, Daniel Mora and Javier Tella scored 5 goals combined to win and earn a spot in the first division for the 1975 season (6/11/174). The team roster included Javier Urbina, Carlos Castillo, Jose Luis Lomeli, Rosalio Hernandez, Ubaldo Ybarra, Florentino Cabrera, Ramon Arceo, Raymundo Ruiz, Javier Bautista, Jesus Fernandez, Antonio Diaz, and Loreto Delgado. On several occasions Club Anahuac traveled to Tijuana, Mexico to play exhibition matches.
In 1967, Club Anahuac joined the California Soccer league to play against seven other Latino teams across the state. Considered the first Latino league in Los Angeles, the California Soccer League (also known as La Liga ) was formed on May 5th, 1958 by business owner Jose Capucetti with a first and second division, as well as a women’s and junior sub-division. A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Capucetti played soccer for many years before forming Club Deportivo Pan Americano on May 19, 1945. Pan Americano was the only Mexican team allowed to join the Greater Los Angeles Soccer League. Latino futbolistas had enough with racial discrimination and tokenism, so they approached Capucetti about forming their own league. To do so, they enlisted the help of La Opinion newspaper sports columnist Alfonso Arias who covered the local soccer scene for over 50 years. “When we first started playing here, people called it a “wetback’ sport, recalled Arias ( LA Times, 12/6/92). The Los Angeles soccer leagues, according to Capucetti “They didn’t want any Mexicans to play,” and “were required to have green cards to play”( LA Times,12/6/92). The citizenship and color line marked the early history of soccer in southern California.
La Liga became one of the largest Latino leagues in the United States producing top-notch players who continued to play in colleges and universities and a few played professional soccer. Club Anahuac and La Liga represents an important part of California’s rich Latino soccer history that needs further research.