OKEECHOBEE -- Chobee Football Club, a women’s soccer travel team in Okeechobee, is in the midst of its inaugural season and is off to a 7-1 start.
Head coach Bernardo Cornejo, who is also an assistant soccer coach at Okeechobee High School, started the club to help raise the competitive level of soccer in the county.
“I started volunteering to help coach the girls soccer team for the high school,” said Cornejo. “I noticed nobody was doing offseason soccer for the girls in Okeechobee. So that’s one of the reasons Chobee F.C. got started.”
One of the competitive edges that high school teams on the coast have over the soccer teams here in Okeechobee is that their players often play year-round in travel leagues, meaning they have much more time to develop their skills and adapt to the game. Cornejo is hopeful Chobee F.C. can help even the odds come next year when the Lady Brahmans take the field again.
The team consists of 23 members, and 21 of those players are from Okeechobee High School.
Cornejo has assembled a coaching staff to help guide the girls, including assistant coach Luis Perez, defensive coordinator Ulyses Reyes, attacking coordinator Johnny Martinez and equipment manager Erik Rayo. Elizabeth Jaimes handles the team’s social media presence.
“My goal is to make sure these girls stay in touch with soccer,” explained Cornejo. “When the new season starts I want them to be focused. Before, when we went to play a big team they would go in thinking they were going to lose. I want them to feel like they can beat those teams and that they play with anybody.”
Also helping lead Chobee F.C. are team captains and Lady Brahman’s Noelia Ruiz and Laura Sanchez along with OHS senior Natalie Saucedo.
Currently there is no fee to join Chobee F.C. as the team is just starting to get things rolling. As they grow, Cornejo says the team may have to have a fee to help pay for equipment and uniforms.
Three local sponsors have stepped up to help the team pay for uniforms in its first year. A.C. Today, J and C Landscaping and Nunez Landscaping all pitched in to support Chobee F.C. in the inaugural year.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining Chobee F.C., you can reach out to the club on its official Facebook page at facebook.com/chobee.f.c19/ or by reaching out to coach Cornejo directly at 772-672-9153.