FIELD OF DREAMS

Sierra High of Manteca finally plays a home game in new stadium named in honor of former player who died in a car accident.

Friday night football has a new feel this week for players at Sierra High of Manteca. The Timberwolves play their first game ever at brand-new Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

The new facility was dedicated at a special ceremony and rally on Wednesday night that included inspirational speeches and members of Daniel's family.

Teicheira died in a rollover accident on a country road near his home on July 1, 2002. He was preparing for his junior season after a sophomore campaign for Sierra that featured numerous 100-yard games. He would have been a senior on this year's team and already probably would have had well over 3,000 career yards rushing.

Shortly before he died, Teicheira told his mother, Nancy, who also is a board member of the Manteca Unified School District, how great it would be if he would be able to one day play a football game at his school. Prior to this season, Sierra played its games at either Manteca High or at nearby East Union High.

"This stadium is a tribute to Daniel's dream," said speaker Mark Rindels. "This truly was a community-wide effort."

Said Sierra High Athletic Director Vern Gebhardt: "You're seated in Sierra High's dream come true. How does it feel?"

Fund-raising for an on-campus stadium actually began nearly 10 years ago when Sierra opened as the third high school in Manteca. Gebhardt and football coach Greg Leland, who have been at the school since it began, and other community leaders worked on the project. It picked up more intense local interest after Teicheira's death, although some in the community thought naming it for him didn't properly honor other students from the school who had died.

The opening this year of Weston Ranch High, the fourth school in the district, was another factor that aided in Sierra's stadium being completed. Since Weston Ranch needed a stadium as well, both projects were given the green light and the district is saving money by completing both at the same time. Lights are already visible at Weston Ranch, but Sierra's stadium was finished first since the new school won't have a varsity team until next season.

The crowd of nearly 1,500 who nearly filled the west side of the new stadium also heard from two of Daniel's brothers.

"The stadium as a whole looks awesome," said Ryan Teicheira. "To see all this that has been done in the last month is pretty amazing.

"The football team here is finally going to have a real home and finally will have a home team advantage. It won't be easy to come to Daniel's house for other teams."

The most moving moment of the night was when football player Eric Manuta read a poem he composed for his ex-teammate and friend. After finishing, Manuta gave a bear hug to both of Daniel's parents. Here is the text of that poem:

To Daniel....

By Eric Manuta

I'm tired, I'm down, can I go any longer?

Just the thought of you makes me that much stronger

Laying foot on this field, my stomach filled with butterflies

nervousness, with chills down my spine

So now I think, since you've been gone

My actions reflect on how I learn from the past

Emotion....pride...I'll play each down like its my last

This time of work....all for who?

Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium, it's a dream come true

So now and forever

The fourth quarter, strong for you, this gift

Take a deep breath

Pray to God that the team's strength is blessed

Wipe my eyes from the tears cried and this blood and sweat

We feel you, hold up our hands forming the number 6

This year is for Daniel, my brother, my teammate, we'll forever miss

Editor's Note: Thank you to Eric for letting us reprint his thoughts. We're very impressed and also plan to publish it nationally in Student Sports Magazine.


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