From the Battlefield to the Soccer Field: Marine Infantryman's Dream Comes True

By Lt. Dana Ayers U.S. Armed Forces Sports

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Team Captain for the All-Marine Corps Men's soccer team Gunnery Sgt. Alberto Boy, from Elmwood Park, Ill., has been playing soccer since he was three years old. While his passion turned to serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, his love for soccer remained. Boy said he has wanted to play for the All-Marine team since 2010 but was not able to due to serving six overseas deployments, including three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. 

Now, 15 years into his military career, he is finally able to get back to the sport he loves. When asked what this opportunity means to him, Boy replied, "It 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," Boy added.

Physical fitness is an important part of the overall readiness of the U.S. Armed Forces. When asked how competing on the team served both him, and his unit in Camp Pendleton, Calif., Boy explained: 

"For unit readiness, it depends on how much I take back and get the guys involved from my unit. 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 MCRD San Diego, Calif., 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," shared Jaramillo. 

The Armed Forces Sports (AFS) Men’s Soccer Championship is conducted every two years and the AFS offers a pathway for elite athletes to go on to compete at national and international competitions. During the off-years, an Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Trial Camp is conducted that selects the U.S. Men’s Armed Forces Team to compete at the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Military Football Cup, or the CISM Military World Games. 

When asked his thoughts on the potential to represent the U.S. in such a competition, Boy responded, "That'd be great! That'd be awesome. If I had the opportunity to represent on the U.S. team - that'd be something else."

The AFS program promotes goodwill and projects a positive image of the U.S. military by encouraging physical fitness through a highly competitive sports program. Visit www.ArmedForcesSports.defense.gov to learn more about the program and the other sports offered.