Last Thursday, August 18th, a little bit of history was made at Toreros stadium. In the 88th minute of the San Diego Loyal showdown vs. the Last Vegas Lights, Coronado local CJ Fodrey netted his first career professional goal for the Loyal.
“It’s one of those moments that I will never forget,” said Fodrey.
Fodrey, who has started to get more minutes with SD Loyal, said that when he entered the game vs the Lights, he was out there being himself, sharing, “Going into the game we had a 4-1 lead. So there was nothing to stress out or think about. It was much more comfortable. So when I got in I just told myself to be loose and not try to do too much.”
It would not take long to see whether or not that approach would pay off. Just about two minutes after checking in, Fodrey found himself one on one with his defender with a long cross coming in. “ It was a great cross into Corey (Hertzog) I could tell he was looking for me. It came down and I was able to get control of it I just made sure my head was clear. ”
With his man beat, it came down to just Fodrey and the goalie. “I just tried to do what I had done in practice plenty of times before. Just a simple finish. Get it to my left (foot) and execute.” And finish he did, as Fodrey rifled the ball off his left foot, past the keeper, and into the goal.
“It was just surreal. Getting mobbed by my teammates and going over and celebrating with the fans and getting congratulated by my teammates. It was great.”
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) August 19, 2021
After the game, head coach and USA soccer legend Landon Donavan talked to CJ. He congratulated the local Coronado kid on his moment but also offered some words of advice.
“He told me congratulations and gave me praise but reminded me to not be satisfied and that this is just a starting point and to keep my head down and keep working.”
And it seems as if CJ has taken Donovan’s words to heart. At the end of our conversation, I asked CJ how big of a moment this was for him overall and he told me, “It’s just a huge thing to build confidence and use as a building block. But for the moment itself, I’ve already moved past it. It’s behind me. Now I’m just looking forward to continuing to work hard and earning more minutes.”
And frankly, if CJ keeps giving performances as he did vs. the Lights, there is no question that CJ’s playtime will continue to increase with the SD Loyal.