Two STC graduated seniors, Alex Martinez and Luis Perez, were recently selected to participate in the 2014 Iowa High School East/West All-Star Cup on Sunday June 29 at Valley Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The games were played prior to the Des Moines Menace home games at Valley Stadium, with player recognition during halftime of the following Menace game.
Players in the game were nominated and selected by the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association (IHSSCA). Participants take part in a practice prior to the game, enjoy a lunch before the game and receive a commemorative jersey. Players were divided in to two teams, east and west, and play alongside their peers in an exhibition game that provides their programs with additional exposure.
East Team - Anthony Bentzinger, Forward (Pella); Dustin Dinsdale, Midfield (Gladbrook-Reinbeck); Jacob Bjornsen, Center-Back (CR Washington); Keegan Lass, Center-Mid (Central-Clinton); Damon Dennis, Forward (Iowa Falls, Alden); Nike Phillips, Center Defender, (Mt. Pleasant); Trever Jensen, Goalie (Bondurant-Farrar); Matt Minks, Sweeper (Marion); Wyatt Cady, Forward (Mi field); Reggie Hostetler, Midfield (Iowa Mennonite); *Alex Martinez, Center-Midfield (South Tama)*; Garrett Grimsmann, Midfield (Iowa City West); Chandler Sturtz, Midfield (Newton); Jared Belin, Goalie (Linn-Marr); Dalton Harvey, Striker (Decorah); *Luiz Perez, Goalie (South Tama)*; Josh Hoffman, Midfield (Grinnell); Ryan Collins, Defender (Iowa City West); Nathan Moorman, Forward (Newton).
Both Martinez and Perez were visible leaders for the Trojan squad this past season. As primarily a center-midfielder, Martinez led not only his team but also the state of Iowa in assists during his senior season. Martinez recorded 24 assists this season, which is tied for first in the state along with fellow All-Star East teammate Austin Errthum from Mid-Prairie. The 2014 season marked a dramatic improvement in the assist category for Martinez as he tripled his total from the previous year going from 8 to 24.
For Martinez the All Star game was "something else". Martinez has played soccer all over the state of Iowa and also around the country. To play with people he had never played with before and in some cases had played against was a great opportunity for him. "The experience helped me learn for the future, helped me meet new people and make new friends," said Martinez. Playing with such top quality players was also a highlight for the senior who will be attending Iowa State in the fall. Martinez is looking forward to focusing on his studies but also plans to try out for the Iowa State Soccer Club.
As for playing at Valley Stadium which is a turf stadium Martinez stated, "The feeling of running the turf was like a dream for a soccer player."
Perez was the primary goalkeeper for the Trojans in 2014, and recorded 97 total saves while also being a positive vocal leader among his teammates. For Perez, the All-Star Cup was a great opportunity saying, "It felt good that I was involved." While he had a good time meeting new people
Perez also felt the challenge of playing with a group of players that he's never played with before. Perez's family was there to support him and cheer him on, "My mom was crying the whole time," said Perez.
The game ended in a 2-2 draw. In a crucial moment of the game Martinez was able to record an assist which tied the score for the East team.