The Grand County High School varsity boys soccer team will play a group of GCHS alumni in the first-ever Arlo Tejada Memorial Alumni Soccer Game on Saturday, April 25.
The game was named in honor of Arlo Tejada, a member of the Grand County High School Class of 1998 who was instrumental in founding a soccer team at the high school. Tejada was well-known in the Moab soccer scene as well as the community at large. He died on December 5, 2014 at age 34 after a four-year battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Current Red Devil soccer coach Mick Dunlavey said he came up with the idea for an alumni game from past experience with another high school program in Oregon, where it was successful. Dunlavey and assistant coach Silas Rappe decided to name the game for Tejada based on his contributions to soccer in Moab.
“I met Arlo in 2011 through playing adult soccer here in Moab and worked with him refereeing high school games until he was just not physically capable of participating,” Dunlavey said. “He was a good soccer player and a great person.”
Tejada and Rappe had been lifelong friends. Rappe said Tejada is a pioneer of the Moab soccer scene.
“Part of what brought us together as friends was pushing to have a high school soccer team,” Rappe said. “Our sophomore year we started a club soccer team at the school and with the help of some dedicated adults, we became an official team the following year. That was largely in part to Arlo and his passion for the game.”
A memorial service for Tejada took place on Saturday, April 18, at the Red Cliff’s Lodge.
“There were 200-300 people there from different circles, different walks of life,” Rappe said. “It was crazy to see how many different people’s lives he touched.”
Tejada was also a lifelong river rafter and co-owned Sheri Griffith River Expeditions from 2003 until his death. After graduating from high school, he attended Westminster College, where he graduated in 2002 with a dual degree in business and marketing. Tejada was also a member of many boards, including the America Outdoors Association, the Utah Guides and Outfitters Association and the Moab Area Travel Council.
He was diagnosed in June 2010 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and maintained his positive attitude despite his personal trials and tribulations. Because of his attitude, as well as his selflessness, he was named a “Hero Among Us” by Real Salt Lake and honored during its Major League Soccer game against the Colorado Rapids on April 13, 2011. In February 2015, the 18th Annual Moab Indoor Soccer Tournament was also dedicated to Tejada.
About 16 alumni are expected to play on Saturday, having connected through families and social media, Dunlavey said. Rappe said he believes every year since the team’s inception will be represented in the game, which he hopes becomes an annual event.
“My big dream was hoping (Tejada) would get to play in the game, but he’ll be here in spirit,” Rappe said.
The game is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 25, at 4 p.m. The fee to participate in the game is $10. A jersey will be provided and cleats and shin guards are required. Because the alumni game is an officially sanctioned UHSAA event, admission prices will be the same as interscholastic games: $3 for students and $4 for adults.
Game named for alumnus Arlo Tejada, who died of cancer in 2014
“My big dream was hoping (that Arlo) would get to play in the game, but he’ll be here in spirit.”
GCHS Alumni versus GCHS varsity boy’s soccer team
When: Saturday, April 25, 4 p.m.
Where: Grand County High School soccer pitch, 608 S. 400 East
Cost: $10 for participants. Cleats and shin guards required
Admission is $3 for students, $4 for adults