You don’t really grow beyond Tacoma. It becomes a part of you. It’s a part of Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez now. Newly signed to Seattle Sounders FC as a Homegrown Player the youngster is still Defiance. When he’s back from the United States U-17s, he will again play in the shadow of mountains, along the shores of rivers.
He’s a brilliant scorer. ‘Fonz has that touch. In Academy action he’s netted 12 goals in 8 USSDA games. In the GA Cup he scored a goal a game against some of the hemisphere’s best teams, winning the Golden Boot. That Golden Boot announced his presence like a trumpet’s cry over the Cascades. At the Concacaf U-17 Championship he has four goals, tied for 7th in the regional tournament. The final is May 16 against Mexico.
He risks, fails, repeats, scores.
It’s that spirit that helped him climb to a greater height, and will help us enjoy the grander sight. That’s the spirit of a land where the Puyallup River flows and the sun shines on Tahoma’s bows.
It’s too early to claim destiny.
Tacoma made that claim too early as well, no matter.
In life or soccer, there’s a grind, an effort, and the ability to find little find pockets of opportunity. That’s Ocampo-Chavez’s game. He’s persistent and gritty.
He’s Merced and Tukwila and Graham and Tacoma and now he’s Seattle. He will know us when we greet him.
Maybe as a champion, certainly as a Sounder and Defiance.
The News Tribune – A breathtaking reminder why Tacoma is a special place
On the Stork Tower, by Wang Zhihuan
US Soccer – U-17s qualify for record 17th World Cup
TACDefiance – Ocampo-Chavez time with Defiance isn’t over
Next Tacoma Defiance home match versus Reno 1868 FC on May 18 at 7 p.m. (tickets available here).