MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY --
Tryouts for the All-Marine Men’s Soccer Team have been completed and of the more than 30 Marines who battled for a position on the team, 18 were selected.
These Marines, who have traveled from Okinawa, Japan, Hawaii and other duty stations within the U.S., have been practicing together aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany since April 18.
To help the team become a more cohesive unit, several scrimmage games were held against Georgia Southwestern State University, Americus, Georgia; Andrew College, Cuthbert, Georgia and Thomas University, Thomasville, Georgia.
Master Sgt. Mario Morales, head coach, All-Marine Men’s Soccer Team, said it is an honor to play soccer for the Corps.
“A lot of the Marines join the Corps right out of high school with dreams of one day playing soccer professionally,” Morales said. “(They) want to play for the Marine Corps.
“The eagle, globe and anchor is our club so the Marines take a lot of pride in that,” he added. “We are representing this, this comes from the heart,” he said pointing at the embroidered eagle, globe and anchor logo on his shirt.
“The Marine Corps has been like my family in a sense,” said the 25-year veteran of the Corps. “So everybody on the team plays with that mindset, that we are a big family.”
His soccer resume` encompasses a culmination of 24 years playing for the Marine Corps including the All-Marine Men’s Soccer Team since 1992 and the USA Team since 1996.
He also traveled with the USA Team to Canada, Croatia, Barbados and throughout the U.S. as a player and assistant coach. In 2015, Morales traveled to South Korea where he participated in the Military World Games.
Morales is a maintenance data specialist division chief with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Staff Sgt. Rocky Fredin, goalie and team captain, All-Marine Men’s Soccer Team, said the most challenging part of the training is getting acclimated to the heat and humidity in Southwest Georgia.
Fredin, a native of Lawrenceville, Georgia, has been nicknamed the ‘grand old man’ by his teammates because this is his sixth time being selected for the All-Marine Men’s Soccer Team.
“Most of us, (have) played soccer our whole lives –from little kids growing up to playing in high school -- and some have played for a junior college,” Fredin said. “Soccer is an outlet, a way to release stress.
“(It) is one thing that we all love (doing) together and it gives (us) that freedom to let go of everything … all the stresses of work, and just get out and play something we love,” he continued.
Fredin, an amphibious assault vehicle mechanic, is currently an instructor at the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy in Camp Pendleton, California.
The All-Marine Men’s Soccer Team will represent the Marine Corps in the Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship scheduled to be held May 7 - 14 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The Marines will take on the Air Force in the first match, May 7.