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T Meet Jake Oetinger A Young Man On A Mission … A Soccer Mission Written By Larry J. Mickartz GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 ake the energy, fan support, farm systems and professionalism of football, basketball and baseball and roll then all into one sport… and you have European soccer. Add an athletic twelve-year-old and expose him to this on a two-week summer vacation. You then have a young man for whom soccer is “a part of his personality,” according to his father. That young man is Jake Oetinger, a Gilroy resident and sixth grader at Valley Christian. The father is winemaker Matt Oetinger, who along with his wife, Tiffany, own and operated Fernwood Cellars in Gilroy. Jake has been played with the Barcelona Bay Area Soccer Club. Most of the players on this trip were from the local Barcelona Club. Jake can rattle off the names, rank- ings and trivia about most European soccer clubs. On this trip he visited West Ham United, Chelsea and Real Madrid Clubs. He also visited the National Football (soccer) Museum in England. He attended several professional matches. He played in “Friendly Fixtures” (translation: exhibition matches) in England and Spain. And as a versatile midfielder, he scored several goals. The first week and a half of the trip was all about soccer with multiple games and daily training sessions. There was some time devoted to sight seeing but it was mostly soccer. The last part of the trip slowed down and included a visit to some former Gilroy residents who now live in Switzerland. One highlight of the trip was a three-day training session at the Real Madrid Football Club. The training com- plex consists of 36 fields. Parents and coaches were allowed to accompany the players to the practice fields but then were promptly bused away after the kids were dropped off. Photos were not allowed on the journey in or out! The final day of training ended with a “friendly fixture” against JuventudSanse, affiliated with Federación de Fútbol de Madrid. Jake now understands how in Europe soccer can “becomes a religion for you.” If all goes well, Jake will travel again this summer with the Barcelona Bay Area Club for training and games in England and Scotland. gmhtoday.com 81