Mesa to honor its inaugural soccer team on Tuesday
Thirty years ago, Mesa High was instrumental in getting soccer to become an AIA-sanctioned sport, and the Jackrabbits are re-paying that honor.
The 1980-81 Mesa boys will be honored at halftime of the Jackrabbits’ match against Hamilton on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Mesa.
Unofficially, Mesa went 8-1-1 in a 10-game inaugural schedule under former coach Steve Ramos (who still does announcing for the team), best among teams that participated that season. Among the wins was a 1-0 victory against Mountain View in the first AIA-sanctioned soccer match in the state, the culmination of a few years of labor by Ramos and others at the school since the late 1970s.
The Jackrabbits were unofficially declared state champions because the AIA didn’t have a championship tournament set up that season.
The new Mesa High Soccer Hall of Fame is the work of former player and current Jackrabbits coach T.J. Hagen. A majority of those players and stat keepers (girls from when Mesa only had a club team) are expected to attend.
The 1980-81 team featured: Joe Baca, Danny Cugudda, Kevin Domenico, Val Faustini, Richard Gallegos, Chris Holbrook, Shahin Movafagh Mowzoon, Kathy Dock, Eric Ostrander, Mark Ostrander, Tim Stanton, Shaun Stirland, Harvey Thacker, Toralf Tronstad, Greg Turley and Lynn LeSueur. Ramos and Richard Bird were the coaches.
Former players will receive a book of newspaper clippings from that season Hagen put together, and a plaque will go into the school’s Hall of Fame showcase.
In building a Mesa High Soccer Hall of Fame, Hagen plans to add noteworthy players/teams from the school’s past on a yearly basis.