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Tinker varsity soccer in Texas tournament

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Tinker's varsity soccer team left the base Thursday en route to Texas for the 2012 Defender's Cup Alamo City Military Open soccer tournament at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Twenty-two teams from Air Force installations across the nation will compete over the Labor Day weekend for the championship.

"We'll get a practice in Friday before the first of our three games on Saturday," Dustin VanCleave, coach of the Tinker Football Club, said earlier this week. The games Saturday "will seed us for Sunday's completion/playoff phase," VanCleave continued. The tournament finals will be played on Monday.

Air Force scouts will be present and, after the tournament, will invite three players to try out for the Air Force team, VanCleave said.

Tinker's soccer club currently has 20 members, including Tariq Bahay, Joe Bowers, Ranson Coleman, Ricky Dent, Armstrong Ekpete, Luis Garcia, Geoffrey Goodwill, Joshua Green, Salvador Gruny, Jose Gjuillan, Samuel Hoy, Nicolas Kuczera, Carlos Libreros, Hanniel Malagon, Keith McDaniel, Sergio Melara, Homero Morales-Arellano, John Powers and Michael Velez. VanCleave is a player/coach, and the assistant coach is Jeremi Isaacs.

The team is in a state of constant flux "because we are always looking for new talent, some players go TDY, others deploy and other PCS," VanCleave said. "It's difficult to maintain a team with much continuity. Only six to eight of our players are on the team from the spring season."

Nevertheless, he continued, "This is our strongest team we have put together in the last five to eight years. We are very deep, and each of our players has a chance to make it at the Air Force level of competition."