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January Spirit of Tex Winners Announced

By RSL AZ, 02/23/24, 6:45AM MST


PHOENIX (Friday, February 23rd, 2024) -- RSL AZ and Earnhardt Auto Centers are pleased to announce the January Spirit of Tex monthly awards, which honor the legacy and values of Tex Earnhardt, founder of Earnhardt Auto Centers. 

Every month from September to April, RSL AZ and Earnhardt Auto Centers will recognize a Coach of the Month, Referee of the Month, Volunteer of the Month, Male Student-Athlete of the Month, and Female Student-Athlete of the Month. In June, all monthly winners will be eligible to be named the Spirit of Tex Coach of the Year, Spirit of Tex Volunteer of the Year, Spirit of Tex Referee of the Year, Spirit of Tex Male Student-Athlete of the Year, and Spirit of Tex Female Student-Athlete of the Year. Winners will also earn a scholarship. 

Nominations are now open for February!

Spirit of Tex Male Student-Athlete of the Month - Markus
Markus is a junior at Desert Mountain High School where he carried a 4.4 GPA and is cross-enrolled in the first year of a sports medicine program between Desert Mountain and Scottsdale Community College. Off the field, Markus has volunteered his time at soccer camps and worked with players of all skill levels to help improve their game.

"Markus moved to Arizona from California and this is his first season with the team. He is an exceptional student and person. He has come into a very good team and has made an impact. His constant improvement is what has impressed me the most," said Jordan Rideout, MLS Next 05/06 Head Coach.

Spirit of Tex Female Student-Athlete of the Month - Annabella
Annabella is in her 8th grade year at Corona Foothills Middle School where she is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, a WEB and Breakaway Leader, as well as the school’s Student Council President. Off the field, Annabella won the 2023 Vail School District Hackathon Young Entrepreneur Competition for Creative and Innovative Solutions. She also volunteers in making Beads of Courage for children in the hospital, making blankets for children in need, and photo albums for care homes.

"She is one of our brightest players on and off the field. She amplifies positivity, strength, endurance, and compassion for the sport and club. Annabella never misses a game or session, and I have yet to see her swallow her pride on the field. She embraces her drive to achieve greatness every single time she steps on the pitch. She represents her team with honor and is an outstanding example for players to follow. She is the one her teammates go-to for sunscreen, extra water, pre-wrap and ice-packs. With all that is on Annabella's plate, she continues to strive to balance soccer, her extracurricular activities, and school at a deserving rate," said Briana Fotenot head coach RSL AZ Southern AZ 2009 Girls Fotenot.

Spirit of Tex Coach of the Month - Mario Catalanotte
In the time that Mario has been a coach with RSL, he has demonstrated exceptional dedication, and an unwavering commitment to the development and success of our players. Mario possesses a rare combination of leadership, strategic thinking, and the drive to improve every player, no matter the skill level. He has not only elevated the performance of individual athletes but has also fostered a positive team culture that is both inspiring and motivating. He consistently goes above and beyond to analyze game strategies, implement effective training regimens, and provide personalized guidance to each player based on their level and position. In addition to his coaching prowess, Mario is a role model for sportsmanship and integrity. He engages with the boys on and off the field, and he provides additional opportunities for those who earn them. His successes with his newly formed teams show that he is dedicated to the growth of the player, the team, and the RSL AZ South organization.

Spirit of Tex Volunteer of the Month - Riobard Smith
Riobard has volunteered for many years as a team manager. In addition to those duties, he has helped volunteer as a coach and goes out of his way to help underprivileged families. 

Spirit of Tex Referee of the Month - Leonardo Nunez
I started refereeing when I was 21 years old. I've been doing it for three years now, and it was the best decision of my life. I am a lawyer, but here I found the job of my dreams.