El Farolito Papy Team

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El Farolito Papy Team

Here in San Francsico there’s a league for players over 35, called Papy, that’s centered around El Farolito, who pays there players to play. This article doesn’t talk much about their men’s league team, who also pays their players and repeatedly wins the league.

Former pro soccer players from Latin America help the Farolito team dominate an amateur league.

On a recent Saturday morning, a crew of aging former professional soccer players from Latin America huddled around Salvador Lopez, who drilled them on the strategy of how their team, El Farolito, would win the 10:40 game in Golden Gate Park.

Seizing the championship in the Papy Soccer League is always the goal for Lopez, and for three of the last four years, the team named for his Mission taqueria has delivered. But three ties this season had got his rivals gossiping. The league’s snarky newsletter had called his lineup "almost-dimmed stars," so Lopez wasn’t in the mood for an upset.

As far as sheer talent goes, the midranked Alianza Lima team gathered on the other side of the field, wearing replicas of the real Lima pro team’s shirts one player had brought from Peru, didn’t present a huge threat. More than a couple of players boasted ample beer guts under their uniforms. Yet, like most in the amateur over-35 league, the squad had a couple of ex-pros. They included slight and speedy forward Armando Ostorga, on whom the team had relied to score ever since its star goalmaker was lured to Farolito at the end of last season (a betrayal Lima still hasn’t forgiven him for). Lima’s coach figured if the midfielders could get the ball away from Farolito’s offense and up to Ostorga for a goal, the league Goliath could be beat.

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