SOCCER: With club team Strikers, Gilroy High grad set to face Earthquakes

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League, which features Gilroy High alumnus Alfonso Motagalvan, visit the San Jose Earthquakes tonight at Stanford’s Cagan Stadium in third round action of the annual Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Motagalvan’s homecoming is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

“It feels good to come back and hopefully I can put on a good showing for friends and family,” Motagalvan said Monday, a couple hours after arriving in San Jose. “Hopefully we can get a win and move on in the tournament.”

The U.S. Open Cup is open to all United States Soccer Federation teams, including amateur clubs to the Major League Soccer representatives.

The Strikers advanced to Tuesday’s tilt with a 7-2 victory over the Fresno Fuego at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on May 22.

The Earthquakes and Strikers each have roots to the initial NASL. The clubs faced each other 12 times from 1977 to 1983, the last of which was a 5-3 San Jose win on Aug. 17, 1983 at Spartan Stadium.

Motagalvan graduated from GHS in 2005. He was named the Tri-County Athletic League Senior of the Year following a 12th-grade season in which he tallied 15 goals and 11 assists. He was the TCAL co-Most Valuable Player his junior year and a three time first-team all-league selection.

The 5-foot, 11-inch midfielder went on to UC Santa Barbara where he played a key role for the Gauchos in their 2006 National Championship season. According to the UCSB athletic website, Motagalvan started the national title game against the UCLA Bruins and made a crucial clearance of a ball off of the goal line to help preserve a 2-1 victory. As co-captain, he started all 20 games his senior year and earned First Team All-Big West honors.

Motagalvan nearly made the the San Jose Earthquakes roster in 2009. After his release, he went back to school to finish up his degree. He spent the previous two seasons with the Rochester Lancers and is in the midst of his first season with the Strikers, holding tight to aspirations of joining the MLS ranks.

“Hopefully we have a good season as a team and that I show well,” said Motagalvan, who served as an assistant coach with Gavilan College last season and has helped out with the GHS soccer team as well. “Hopefully I get some looks.”

The Earthquakes are 10-8 all-time in U.S. Open Cup play. The club last made an appearance in the full tournament in 2005 when they reached the quarterfinals before losing 2-1 against the LA Galaxy at Spartan Stadium.

Tickets for tonight’s game are $15.

A San Jose Earthquakes press release contributed information for this story.

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