Midfielder Christian Soto hopes to bring national championship to Crossfire
By Nick Flores/NPSL.com
Crossfire Redmond have reached the NPSL National Championship after a season of ups and downs but that did not stop them from believing. With injuries and players having to miss games due to school commitments throughout the season, Crossfire finished with a record of 4-1-5.
Although their record may not be the greatest on paper, they shouldn’t be written off so easily – after all, they’re in the final for a reason.
One of those reasons is the fact that they boast a great amount of collegiate stars. With multiple members of the squad hailing from the University of Washgington’s men’s soccer program such as Nate Jones, Egor Akulov, Omar Grey, Ilijah Paul, Cooper Brunell, Jackson Ozburn, and Christian Soto, the team is certainly not short of talent.
Of the players mentioned there is one that stands out as a winner both on and off the pitch in the eyes of head coach Bill Colello – Christian Soto.
Soto is entering his senior season with the University of Washington and has been part of the Crossfire Academy since he was in the eighth grade. Throughout his time with both Crossfire and the Huskies, he has seen a great deal of success.
Some of his accolades include leading Crossfire to the final eight of the academy playoffs, All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention, All-Pac 12 First Team, Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll, and he also was called up to the U.S. U-17 National Team camp in 2016.
The list goes on for Soto, and he puts joining Washington up there as “one of the greatest decisions” he’s ever made.
“We have a really close family team and throughout the time I’ve been here we’ve been really successful,” Soto said. “My freshman year we won the Pac-12 and we came runners up the following two years. Last year we made it to the national championship so I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”
Soto has enjoyed a great amount of success at the collegiate level as the midfielder has also notched five goals and 11 assists during his time with the Huskies. As a central midfielder it’s important that you’re well rounded in each aspect of the game, and Soto is the embodiment of being an all-around player.
Not only can he create chances at will but he’s tenacious when defending and has great situational awareness. He’s an engine in the Crossfire midfield. Even if he is not getting on the scoresheet his presence is always felt within a match, and his work is not overlooked by Colello.
“He is a great kid,” Colello said. “Very tough and athletic. His attitude is his best quality. He is a winner and a fantastic teammate. He is the first name on the team sheet every week, and I am sure his college coaches will say the same thing.”
As we look ahead to Saturday’s matchup between Crossfire Redmond and FC Motown, Soto will play a large role for Crossfire. He’s already established himself as a leader within the squad, and he will be looking to make an impact for his side on Saturday evening.
“I think of myself as someone who leads by actions,” Soto said. “Doing things right on and off the field is something I’ve always tried to do. As I’m getting older I see myself in a position of more leadership.”
This leadership has been crucial to getting the squad to the national championship as rival teams and fans may have written Crossfire off due to their regular season record. As mentioned before, the team has dealt with some injuries and absences of players which meant the squad wasn’t at full strength early on in the regular season. Soto acknowledges this and feels the team is in the best shape they’ve been in all year.
“I think people write us off but I don’t know if they know the full story,” Soto. “I think this is the most complete squad we’ve had because throughout our NPSL season we’ve had injuries and people wouldn’t be able to make it to games. We haven’t had a rull roster but I think we have what it takes to take that next step.”
Crossfire have found some of their best form in the playoffs which has led them to the national championship. The team has found the back of the net 12 times in four games, and they hope to carry this goal-scoring momentum into the final.
“I think we have really good players, really good strikers all around, and we have really good depth too,” Soto said. “River Stewert made the conference and region XI, and he’s a great complete striker. I do think highly of our forwards.”
With Crossfire hoping to continue their great goal-scoring form, it would mean “everything” for the team to come out as NPSL National Champions.
“It’s been a long summer,” Soto said. “We’ve had our ups and downs with our record, and I think just being able to be together, it’s the dream right? It’s the national title, who doesn’t want it? It’s definitely the goal and it would mean a lot to us to bring a national trophy to Crossfire.”
Crossfire Redmond will face FC Motown in the NPSL National Championship on Saturday evening with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 pm Eastern at the MSU Soccer Park. Tickets are $10 at the gate with kids under the age of 14 free.
Photo Credit: Chris Robotham NPSL.com