To get to the Cal South State Cup Governors Girls 2007 Division Championship final is a task that’s easier said than done. The competition throughout the tournament is fierce, with plenty of teams aiming to lift the championship trophy.
For the Nado Select team lead by coach Jerry Ruiz, the group phase was tough as expected, matching up against regionally and nationally renowned clubs. As they gradually built up to the final championship match, coach Ruiz was ecstatic to make it to the final, the highest any of his teams have achieved in State Cup. His team didn’t disappoint in the end, adjusting to the challenges at hand and managing the game to a 1-0 win.
“For me, it’s special because I’ve had this age group for a couple of years now and I’ve been in Quarters, I’ve been in Semis and this is the first time I’ve been in the final and to have the privilege to win it, it means a lot. I think it represents the hard work that the girls have put in,” coach Ruiz said after the game.
“The size of the girls is small compared to other girls and they’ve really understood the concepts and the actual game itself,” he added. “They don’t just play to play, they understand the through runs and the wall passes and when to make themselves look good and when to make other players look good. The understanding that I’ve had, I’ve lacked with other teams, and that’s what makes this team really special.”
In every tournament they participate, coach Ruiz sets an objective for the girls. In one, they might focus on defensive shape, while at another, their focus will be on crossing and finishing. The development process is vital, but for some parents, the wins can’t come sooner, something that coach Ruiz didn’t have many issues with.
“[Parents] want the wins early, but I think [my team’s] parents were onboard and trusted me to lead them in development rather than wins, and like I said, it paid off and the parents were onboard from the beginning,” he finalized.
UIFC Laguna Academy didn’t quite have the best start in the 2017 Cal South State Cup Governors Boys 2008 Division, falling 4-1 to Rebels SC. However, they had the best ending possible.
In the final championship match that took place at Temecula’s Galway Downs, UIFC Laguna Academy, led by coach Robaire Romero, took the early lead over their Central California Aztecs counterparts. However, the Aztecs were able to bounce back to equalize the game. It was in the final five minutes that Coach Romero and the players’ families were finally able to take a breather as his team knocked in the 2-1 final score, leading them to their first Cal South State Cup Championship.
“[State Cup] was just what we were looking for, after the season is over, we prepared for this, we worked hard,” the UIFC Laguna Academy coach said after the game. “I’ve told my boys to work hard, and they did it, they made it happen.
“This is just the beginning to something great,” he added.
To prepare for State Cup, coach Romero and his team did everything they could to be fully and appropriately prepared for the competition. Coach Romero brought in athletic trainers from Spain to share their wisdom with the players, and to get them in the best shape possible.
With all the hard work and dedication that the team put in during practice, coach Romero knew that his team could go far in the tournament, and he was outspoken about it, leading his team to believe it and achieve it.
“I told them we were going to be in the top final four and in the end, we made it happen, in the end we won the championship,” he finalized.
Among 131 teams competing for the Cal South State Cup Governors Boys 2007 Division Championship, Olé Soccer Club/Juggle the World was just another club in the running, a small, young club from the East Valley trying to expose its players to the best soccer in Southern California.
Little did coach Walter Merino know that everything his team would be building up on would bring the best soccer that would win them the 2017 Cal South State Cup Governors Boys 2007 Division title through a 3-0 win over a known club like Beach FC.
“It is almost a dream, really, a vision we had. My brother Mario and myself, when we started Olé Soccer, we started off as camps, gradually moved to teams and from teams we said, ‘let’s just build a club,’” coach Merino said. “It’s been a long journey coming and this is really for our entire community, this is for where we are specifically in the San Fernando Valley and for soccer in general. It’s an amazing feeling.”
This young club has reached big strides in its short history. Due to weather constraints, the Cal South State Cup was rescheduled the week of Semifinals and Finals, but Olé Soccer Club didn’t see that as a time to rest. Instead, the club found the So Cal Association Futsal Tournament, gave their best and came out champions. It was the experience from that tournament that the Olé Soccer Club used to continue fighting for the Cal South State Cup.
“We took the approach of one final at a time,” coach Merino said. “Each game is a final. Wherever we play, it doesn’t matter, we have to approach it as a final. We gotta sellout, we gotta make sure we go and play as hard as possible in each game, we don’t take anybody lightly.
“Everything counts in investing in the next generation of soccer stars locally in Southern California. Everyone knows where the talent is – Southern California. We’re doing something great with Cal South and we’re really excited for what’s to come,” he finalized.
Ahead of the 2017 Cal South State Cup Mayors Division competition, Aztecs FC Coach Wilson Posadas knew that the tournament would be a challenge for him and his team. After all, he was mainly working with 2008 boys who were playing two years up and against all odds.
But his team surprised him and many others. The San Diego based team swept through the group phase, knocking in a total of 17 goals in the group phase, and sliding through the knockout phase, defeating every rival they faced. However, coach Posadas’ team would truly be tested in the Boys 2007 Championship Final against CDA FC Slammers, but they got the job done, coming away with a 3-0 win and the title.
“For us it means, first and foremost, where the team is today, something they’re going to remember for all of their lives,” Posada said after the game. “To get to a State Cup final is not easy. For them, I think it’s going to be a great memory. And what Cal South is about; Cal South is the best. I feel very proud for the boys because they’re going to have this for a lifetime.”
The smiles on the players’ faces, as well as their families said it all. The players had overcome all adversity to win a championship that they had talked about ahead of the start of the tournament, but were unsure of the road ahead. After leaving their hearts out on the field, all the work that they put in at training had paid off.
“We all want to get to the final,” coach Posadas admitted. “To do that, we had to work hard three times a week, what their age permits, in order for them to get to the game in the best shape possible to win.
“The players go home happy, their parents as well, and me. I’ve been coaching younger teams for years and it’s a nice experience for everyone,” he finalized.
If there’s one word Legends FC South Coach Jennifer Lawlor can use to describe her team, it would be resilient.
On Saturday afternoon as the Girls 2008 team was battling it out with Beach FC for a ticket to the Cal South Governors Girls 2008 Division Championship match, Coach Lawlor was anxious for her girls to put their style of play into action and earn their place in the final. After two overtimes and penalty kicks, the girls got the job done.
Come Sunday, the girls would do it again, this time defeating their Empire SC counterparts 2-1 in regulation time.
“In our Semifinal, I don’t know if the girls were nervous but we definitely got thrown off our style of play; we like to keep the ball on the ground and the ball was everywhere,” Coach Lawlor said after the championship match. “I was a little bit worried about how they were going to come out but my team is so resilient that they are so determined and so competitive-minded at such a young age that they settled to play our style of soccer and they did well.”
Through a long tournament came long training sessions. Every time the girls would step onto the field, Coach Lawlor would not be disappointed. The girls would show their competitive spirit all throughout practice, giving their all so they can conquer State Cup. Now, Legends FC South can look back and see how their hard work paid off.
“It means a lot to them, I know that,” the Legends FC South coach said. “We’ve been talking about [State Cup] all season long, through heartbreaking losses. They’re so insightful to tap into that kind of experience that I knew there was something bigger for them because they work hard in every single training session, they make corrections, they adapt to the game. Like I’ve said before, they’re so resilient, I’m so proud of them. They got the reward for all their hard work.”
To get one San Diego Soccer Club to the 2017 Cal South State Cup Mayors Girls 2007 Division Championship final is an accomplishment for the coach and its players. To have two San Diego Soccer Club teams face each other in the final speaks highly of the club as a whole.
That was exactly what happened when San Diego Soccer Club Orange and San Diego Soccer Club White Elite faced each other on Sunday afternoon at Temecula’s Galway Downs. Both teams had faced each other before, but this time it would be for a trophy.
It wasn’t an easy task, however, it would be coach Warren Schwitkis’ San Diego SC Orange team that would come up on top, defeating their fellow San Diego SC team 1-0.
“We’ve played them more than a few times and they’ve always been a tough team,” Schwitkis said after the game. “We knew it was going to come down to one or two mistakes and that’s what it came down to, one or two mistakes.
“It’s also hard to beat the team over again. We’ve played them a couple of times and it’s always tough; first time, second time to play. The second time is always tough, the third time is even tougher to beat the team,” he added.
The San Diego SC Orange Team knew what it was like to take a loss in State Cup. Just last year, the Under-10 girls were close to getting to the same State Cup championship match. However, they were knocked out in the semifinals to the eventual champion, Strikers OC, finishing the tournament among the top four teams.
This year, however, the girls were determined to finish on top, but Coach Schwitkis kept things grounded, leading the girls step-by-step.
“We had talked about going all the way this year, that came up. But we kept it grounded, using the old coaching philosophy, ‘one game at a time, one half at a time.’ Twenty-five minutes of hard play first half, and then at halftime, another 25 minutes of hard play, that’s all you need,” he finalized.