Three Cal South players were named to the U.S. Youth Soccer ODP All-Star Teams after participating in the 2015 US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Florida Interregional that recently took place at Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Of the nearly 150 players that participated in the event, California Rush forward George Sanchez was named to the 1998 All-Star Team, while Legends midfielder Devin Cornejo, and North Valley SC defender Chad Morgan were named to the 1999 All-Star Team.
Sanchez, a native of Long Beach, Calif., finished the tournament as the leading goal scorer in his age group, notching three goals for Region IV, all of which came in the first match of the tournament. He also claimed the 2015 US Youth Soccer ODP Region IV and National Championship title with Cal South 98 earlier in the year, gaining experience to compete amongst the best of the best.
“It was surprisingly good; I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it,” said the 17-year-old about the competition. “It was high competition. It was about the same competition as in the Nationals, with strong teams and strong players.”
As a defender, Morgan led the Region IV ’99 backline and squad to finish 3rd. The Northridge, Calif. native not only scored a goal in the 3-2 win over Region III in the second round of games, but was a standout in the backline since the first match of the tournament that ended in a scoreless draw. Morgan, however, is no stranger to All-Star Teams, being named to the Regional All-Star Team in the past.
“I was ecstatic, I was so happy [to hear the news],” Morgan said. “I’ve been an All-Star in the Regionals, but I’ve never been an All-Star in the Interregional tournament. I was surprised, but I was happy.”
Morgan was so happy to hear the news he had to share it with someone else, someone who had also been selected to the All-Star Team, none other than Devin Cornejo. The Legends player bolstered the midfield for Region IV, earning his spot in the elite team.
“Chad texted me and I was really excited,” Cornejo said. “It’s really nice and it motivates me to keep on working hard."
“It was really fun being able to be teammates with players who I normally compete with in Region IV, players from Utah, Washington, Oregon. It was nice to play with them and get to know each other,” he added.
Throughout the tournament, participating players get the opportunity to train and compete in front of collegiate coaches and scouts, as well as U.S. national team coaches, easing the way to opening the doors to more opportunities in the near future.
“There was a sideline full of college coaches looking at every individual player,” Morgan said. “I really enjoyed the tournament just because of that."
“I plan on going to a D1 college. I’m not just going there for soccer, but academics as well,” he added.
For now, each of the three players are focused on continuing their season with their respective teams, always aiming to finish as the best in the nation despite the ups and downs.
“It’s rare when we lose, but sometimes we do and it’s sad because we should be one of the best teams in the nation,” Sanchez said about his team, California Rush. “We have the players to get there and sometimes it upsets the other players, but I think we can be the best.”