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Season-high three goals provide jolt for Energy FC in 3-1 win over Rio Grande Valley

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Energy FC striker Jaime Siaj Romero celebrates his goal in the 21st minute of Saturday's 3-1 win against Rio Grande Valley at Taft Stadium. [STEVEN CHRISTY/ENERGY FC]

Energy FC striker Jaime Siaj Romero celebrates his goal in the 21st minute of Saturday's 3-1 win against Rio Grande Valley at Taft Stadium. [STEVEN CHRISTY/ENERGY FC]

When doing a photo shoot during the World Cup, some Energy FC players had only one request.

“Can we do it after all of the games are over?”

Although the soccer at Taft Stadium on Saturday wasn't quite at the level of what is being played at the World Cup in Russia, it is something that gives local fans a taste of what soccer is like on a grand stage.

Callum Ross' header in the 53rd minute was the go-ahead goal in Energy FC's 3-1 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday at Taft Stadium. The three-goal effort was only the third time this season Energy FC (4-10-1) has scored multiple goals in a match. Three goals is also the most Energy FC has scored this season.

In the team's intro video, coach Steve Cooke says soccer is the world's sport because of its ability to include everyone. For Energy FC, that standard is correct, as 11 countries are represented on the roster.

It's that type of connection and bond goalie Cody Laurendi said is a big reason soccer will continue to grow in the United States.

“A general lay of the land of what America is, it's one big melting pot,” Laurendi said. “Everybody plays soccer. Not everybody plays American football. Not everyone plays baseball.”

Energy FC is having a World Cup bet between its players and coaches. For $20, members of the team drew numbers from a hat. They then drafted a team in the World Cup.

For forward Christian Volesky, his team is Belgium, so he is hoping for magic. Laurendi said he picked Switzerland near the end of their draft.

Both players are originally from the U.S., and they said it's disappointing the national team isn't competing for a World Cup trophy. Although 2018 was a letdown, they said the future is bright for American soccer.

ESPN shows many United Soccer League games. Laurendi said having big plays on SportsCenter's Top 10 every week helps soccer's exposure and could help propel some young to want to make a difference on the national team.

Starting next season, the USL is adding five clubs. With continued coverage on ESPN and other outlets growing, Laurendi said he hopes seeing soccer on TV will inspire more athletes to continue playing as they age.

Volesky said even in Oklahoma City, there are so many pipelines to professional soccer and more opportunities are coming up every day, so it is a bonus for people who want to play professionally.

“If I was a kid coming to these games, the amount of drive that I would have would be incredible,” Volesky said. “The exposure of soccer, even in the USL, is amazing.”

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