International friendlies are not the norm for high school soccer teams.
But the Burroughs High boys’ soccer team got to experience that and a whole lot more Friday night when the Indians won 4-0 over the Under-16 side Palmira, Colombia side that competes under the flagship of professional soccer club America de Cali.
The game was halted with about 15 minutes left when the 7.1 magnitude earthquake centered near Ridgecrest scared many in the stands at Memorial Field.
“We didn’t feel anything. We just saw everyone in the bleachers and on the bench say stop, stop, stop,” Burroughs’ David Gerlach said.
One of the players from the Palmira side said he too wasn’t aware at first.
“I was running and everyone was yelling and we were like ‘What happened,’” Nicolas Blandon said in Spanish. “People in the stands were yelling and the lights were moving.”
Blandon praised Burroughs for its play.
“They are a good physical team and they run a lot,” Blandon said. “We thought it would be more passive, but instead it was much quicker.”
Burroughs coach Mike Kodama, who was able to organize bringing the Colombian side to Los Angeles through his business connections, was glad to see his team play as well as they did, especially since two key returners in All-CIF forward Manny Gonzalez and center back Carter Wells with were both unavailable.
“I was very happy with how we played. A chance at an international game is one of those things you always wish for. It was a great experience for all of the boys,” Kodama said.
Burroughs got a fine game from junior Elias Galaviz, who scored two goals. Seniors Carlos Rosales and David Gerlach, who are both four-year varsity players, had the other two goals.
“I think we’re doing pretty (well), but we don’t want to get too confident,” Rosales said.
The Colombian side came close to finding the back of the net two minutes into the second half when a shot by Jose Moreno hit the top crossbar.
Fortunately, Burroughs was well in front when the earth began to shake, and given the sizable advantage made it easier to end the game early.
“The safety issue came first. I don’t think there was any choice in the matter,” Kodama said.