Even though he’s a recent graduate from culinary school, Edgar Reyna isn’t about to trade hot strikers for pot stickers.
The FC Tucson defender, who recently earned his diploma in culinary arts from the Art Institute of Tucson, is still focusing on soccer as the club nears the start of its third season in the USL Premier Development League.
“Cooking has always been a real passion to me,” said Reyna, a former standout at Nogales High School and Pima College who was a mainstay at the back for FC Tucson last season. “I actually want to be a personal chef and personal trainer at the same time.”
For now, though, he’s training himself and others to be better soccer players. On Friday night, he was at Kino Sports Complex working with about 40 players who are competing for spots during FC Tucson’s two days of tryouts.
If anyone can relate to where the 40 fledglings are at, it’s Reyna. He attended a tryout a few years ago and was told he “wasn’t ready, but keep coming out and keep training.”
That he did. Now he’s third on FC Tucson’s list of players with most appearances, having taken the field in 29 matches over three seasons.
The 23-year-old is expecting to add to that total when FC Tucson begins its USL PDL season May 8.
In the distant future, he would like to take his new vocation and stir it into his job.
“My big goal is to work with any professional team,” said Reyna, who has impressed teammates with his dishes, including shrimp scampi. “To cook their pregame meals, postgame meals. If I don’t see anything else going on with soccer for me, that’s what I would want to be.”
FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz sees that dual passion in Reyna.
“He set this goal a long time ago,” Schantz said. “A lot of our guys think that when they come to FC Tucson that their career ends when they can’t play pro soccer anymore. However, if you’re a big fan of the game, and you really love being around pro soccer, there’s marketing and advertising and nutritionists. That’s Edgar’s goal.”
D’Arrigo now a pro
Former FC Tucson goalkeeper Michael D’Arrigo signed with Arizona United SC, a USL Pro team in Phoenix that opens its season today.
D’Arrigo, a Tucson native who played at Catalina Foothills High School, saw action in 21 matches for FC Tucson over the club’s first three seasons. The 22-year-old wrapped up a four-year career at University of San Diego last fall.
“I’m excited to represent my home state and start a new career,” D’Arrigo said in a news release. Arizona United faces Oklahoma City Energy FC tonight at 7 at Peoria Sports Complex.
- FC Tucson will have a season kick-off match against the University of New Mexico on May 3. The match will start at 7:30 p.m. at Kino Sports Complex North Stadium. Season ticket-holders and fans who wear FC Tucson gear or Chapman Automotive-branded shirts and jerseys will get in for free. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at FCTucson.com. The event will include open-play mini games, youth mini games and postgame autographs.
- Real Salt Lake announced earlier this week that it signed Tucsonan
- Justen Glad
- as a homegrown player. Glad, who played one season at Catalina Foothills, joins the first team after spending two years at the RSL-Arizona Academy residency program in Casa Grande. The 17-year-old defender who has been on the U.S. Under-17 and Under-18 national teams, is the seventh homegrown player in RSL history.