The Socorro AYSO team shows up in Corrales as they bring home championship medals after playing in U-10 competition.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain


2021 has been an uphill climb for coach Christopher Olguin and the Socorro Youth Soccer Team. During the pandemic, many young players and their families decided not to hit the field this year. With restrictions somewhat lifted, Olguin and parents around the community were able to put together a squad. That team travelled all the way to Corrales for the Salute to Veterans Cup Memorial tournament and returned home with a championship.

Olguin is a former player turned coach and grew up in the New Mexico AYSO community. He began coaching when his son Camden started playing. The 2021 concept for the kids was to put together a travel team in order to face off against competition from bigger cities.

“We’ve been working hard to make this happen,” he said. “I was able to get the right parents together which is how we were able to get them on the field and on the road again. These kids have been working hard and wanted badly to compete.”

Mainly compiled from Socorro’s U-10 league, athletes as young as 7 years old went out on the field against groups with more experience playing together. Coach Olguin stressed the importance of giving the players an activity to participate in.

“There’s just not a whole lot to do here right now,” he said. “It’s really a community effort as these kids come from different schools and can build relationships from a young age. Soccer is a great way for these players to develop and relieve stress during these times which is what we wanted to do.”

The Socorro team, which did not have an official name at this point, was going up against recognized AYSO teams. This was the first time this group played together, yet they swept opponents who had been playing together for multiple years. The team’s first match was a 5-0 defeat. Game two was a close 2-1 win. The Saturday game against the Albuquerque Timbers championships throwdown was another shutout win as Socorro took it home 3-0 to medal.

After the victory, the young athletes are done this year. Olguin has his eyes set on a tournament in Tucson, Arizona in 2022. The coach hopes to expand the team in the future. Anyone interested in getting their kids involved can contact the club on Facebook at AYSO Region 364 Socorro, New Mexico.