Men’s soccer kicks off with a win

In the ninth minute of the first Santa Monica College men’s soccer game in almost 20 years, SMC midfielder Eric Fakhourian broke away from the pack of Santiago Canyon defenders, dodged the goalie’s steal attempt, and scored an uncontested goal from a wide-open angle. Fans and teammates celebrated the goal as Fakhourian ran toward the western sideline in pure excitement, and the Corsairs went on to win Friday’s game 3-1.

“It felt amazing,” said Fakhourian. “I was excited about the first game, and I felt the goal helped with our confidence going forward.”

“There was a feeling-out period in the beginning where it was a little back-and-forth,” said SMC men’s soccer coach Tim Pierce. “I think our guys were a little nervous they haven’t played a real game together yet. The other team has already had a game under their belt.”

Santiago Canyon’s experience was evident in the 36th minute as Adama Jallow, a first-year forward, scored a goal to tie up the game 1-1. However, the goal did not demoralize the Corsairs as they gained momentum in the second half.

In the 50th minute, Alessandro Canale scored a goal in traffic to create a 2-1 lead.

“I was thrilled to put us up by one because it showed us that we have the potential to play with any team in the league,” said Canale.

Nearly 10 minutes later, Fakhourian shot the ball from the east side of the field and scored the Corsairs’ third goal.

“There was a lot of pressure for all of us, but the fan support was great,” Fakhourian said after the game.

Although an SMC men’s soccer team had been nonexistent for nearly 20 years, according to Pierce, Santa Monica has a prevalent soccer culture, which could be seen by the support at the game.