By Navy Lt. Dana Ayers, Armed Forces Sports
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Alberto Boy has been playing soccer since he was three years old. His love for soccer remained even as he enlisted in the Marine Corps.
Now, team captain for the All-Marine Corps Men's soccer team, Boy said he has wanted to play for the team since 2010, but was not able to due to serving six overseas deployments, including three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
Fifteen years into his military career, he is finally able to get back to the sport he loves. An opportunity that Boy said "means everything!"
"Being in the service is what I wanted to do and now being given the opportunity to come play on this team -- it's a dream come true," he added.
Physical fitness is an important part of the overall readiness of the armed forces. Boy said opportunities to compete at the all-service and joint level are also good for morale.
"For unit readiness, it depends on how much I take back and get the guys involved from my unit,” he said. “They didn't have the opportunity to come here, so actually getting them the opportunity to participate in sports in the Marine Corps, or in the whole armed forces -- that would bring the morale in our unit a little higher. Individually, it's a goal I've wanted to do -- tried to do -- and I finally got to do it."
The coach of the All-Marine men's soccer team, 1st Sgt. Gabriel Jaramillo of Marine Corps Recruit Depo San Diego, said he sees potential in Boy. "Having been on the team myself and competed at the international level, I can say he has the discipline and skills to compete at that level," he said.
Armed Forces Sports holds soccer championships biennially for the men’s and women’s teams from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. During the off years, players compete at trial camps for spots on the men’s and women’s all-armed forces teams. Those teams compete against military teams from around the world at Conseil International du Sport Militaire world military cups and the CISM Military World Games.
The men’s team placed second at the 2017 World Football Cup in Oman. The 2018 World Military Women’s Football Championship is going on now at Fort Bliss, Texas, and will continue until July 5. The next CISM Military World Games is scheduled to be held in Wuhan, China, Oct. 18-27, 2019.
Boy said it would be “awesome” to have an opportunity to play on the all-armed forces team. “That'd be something else," he added.