Madera footballer headed overseas


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera Coyotes’ senior midfielder Elmer Garcia will continue his soccer career next year, not at a college, but professionally with FC Odisea in Spain.

 

Playing collegiate and professional sports is a privilege that not many get to achieve, but for one Maderan and Madera Coyote boys soccer player, getting a chance to play overseas as a professional, was too good to turn down.


Madera’s Elmer Garcia is headed to club FC Odisea (located in Castellon de la Plana, Spain) after the year to begin his path as a professional footballer.


“As of today, I have 8 months to get ready to prepare myself, not only physically, but mentally to start my new chapter in Spain. I will have a season of 10 months to train and play soccer full-time,” Garcia said.


“As of right now, I wouldn’t say I’m nervous, however I am really excited, grateful, and very honored for this new chapter in my life all thanks to God. It’s something I’ve dreamed of as a kid and it’s something that isn’t going to be taken for granted.”


Those that know Garcia paint him as a hard worker, a dependable friend and more so, a one-of-a-kind teammate and player.

At just a young age within the Madera Coyotes soccer program, Garcia proved his worth to head coach Nic Landeros, who put a lot of trust in Garcia.


Garcia was mere votes away from being named County/Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year last year. An award that was certainly deserving for his all-around qualities as a footballer. In midfield, Garcia is calm, patient and quick. On defense, Garcia is strong and intelligent and, in front of goal, Garcia is clinical.


A player’s worth isn’t defined by the goals they score or the assists they create, but Garcia’s overall benefit to the team was evident week in and week out as the Coyotes had a sense of calmness with Garcia on the pitch.


“Elmer’s journey started his freshman year. He’s become an important part of the team since he’s been a part of the program,” Landeros said. “He’s our captain, he is a very relentless player. He’s demanding and expects a lot and holds them accountable. He wants the best for himself and others and I know he will do great things in the future.”


In March of 2021, Garcia took part in the FC Dallas Cup in Texas with his club team, California Odyssey. It was there that his high-level of play was noticed by college teams, as well as FC Odisea.


Garcia put on a show for the scouts in attendance that earned him a spot on an overseas club.


“I think I’m a very tough-minded player and a very hard-working player. I am very open-minded and physical, with high intelligence on the field while being on and off the ball,” Garcia said. “As a teammate I am very tough on others and I try to get the best in others. I try to push others around me to their limits while also playing the sport we love and enjoy. I expect nothing less than 100 percent from everyone, especially since this is my senior year.”


Moreover, Garcia’s fire has shown throughout his tenure as a four-year varsity player. Garcia knows what it takes to excel on the pitch, and his next chapter will be his toughest yet.


However, for a player like Garcia who has the mental makeup as well as the physical gifts to excel, getting pushed to your limit will only make him a better player.


“First, I am not a professional, yet. I say yet because I know I can reach my all-time goal. Although it is not a huge club, it’s a very good point to start off with and I know it can lead to something great,” Garcia said. “However, the reason I have chosen soccer over in Europe is because everything felt right. The offer and the benefits I get from playing out of the country is something greater I believe I can get, other than going to college.


“This is due to having to stress about school, work and soccer in college. Many people enjoy school however, I’m not such a big fan of being in a chair for hours while I know I can be preparing myself for something I truly love. No bash towards education, however some things just do not go together and as of now, school may not be my best interest.”


Garcia’s abilities can take him to heights only he could dream of. But, his move to Spain isn’t just with himself in mind. The senior is committed to giving back to the very ones that have been by his side from the beginning. Garcia’s parents Marino Garcia and Paula Santos and sisters Angela Garcia and Brenda González are a source of inspiration for the Coyote senior.


“They always cheer me up when I have a bad game, practice, or etc. My small family is what pushes me to do better and continue to strive for more,” Garcia said.


With his faith and family, Garcia is able to perform at a high level, a level that nearly won him CMAC Player of the Year in 2020-21 but even more so as he ascends to the professional ranks of the sport in of the more prominent soccer countries in the world.


“One of my goals is to help my parents retire as soon as possible and to start creating my own success. I want to become a high-caliber professional soccer player and prove that anything is possible even while taking high risks,” he said.


“My main goal is to show my family that this is what I’m built for. If God allows me to achieve many things, I want to give back to the people who have helped me all this way and to a lot of other young kids with the same dream to be a professional soccer player.”