By Steve Breazeale
After a long and successful club soccer season, the San Juan Capistrano based So Cal Blues youth soccer club saw three of their teams claim the Cal South State Cup in their respective age groups. After capturing the State Cup, the three teams earned an automatic bid to the US Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championship in Hawaii, which will be played from June 17 to 23 in Honolulu.
The Far West Regional features the top teams from each western state and the So Cal Blues girls U13, U14 and U19 teams, which are made up of several San Juan residents, will represent California. A win in the regional stage will ensure a berth in the in the US Youth Soccer National Championship in July.
Regional competition will be unlike anything else the So Cal Blues players experience all year. The seven-day format is four days longer than a usual tournament, according to U13 coach and the club’s Co-Director of Coaching Tad Bobak. Aside from the tournament’s long schedule, the Blues players will be competing against some of the top teams in the nation.
“It will be taxing on the mind of the players, playing highly competitive teams in tough conditions,” Bobak said. “Knowing how to be a disciplined athlete is going to play a big role in their productivity.”
San Juan resident’s Emiley Benner and Jennifer McFadden are a part of the club’s U13 squad.
The So Cal Blues U14 squad had an effective Cal State Cup run that saw them not concede one goal in the tournament, which ended with a 1-0 shutout over Celtic Hoops in the finals on May 19.
The club’s U19 group is unique in that all of the players are now in college and come back to represent the So Cal Blues in the offseason. They get very limited practice time with one another when they return from college and then set out to compete in the club soccer season, according to Bobak.
For updates on the So Cal Blues march through the Far West Regional tournament, visit www.thecapistranodispatch.com.