Post-season youth soccer is in full swing for all age levels. The good news is that both the boys and girls varsity teams at three Santa Monica high schools qualified for post-season play in their respective CIF Divisions. The bad news is that no squad advanced as far as the CIF finals.The boys team at Crossroads Upper School put together the best run, making it to Round Three of the playoffs before losing to Silverado. Crossroads’ girls team lost in the First Round. Second Round action proved the demise of the remaining four teams. The Samohi Vikings fell prey to the “curse of the Coronas” as first the girls team lost to Corona’s Santiago High School on Fat Tuesday, and the boys were bested by a strong team from Corona del Mar on Ash Wednesday.Both the boys and girls Mariner teams at St. Monica High School also advanced as far as the second round. Just making the playoffs was a particularly noteworthy achievement for the boys squad which last year was 2-6-2 in league play, and this year improved to 8-0-2 under the direction of new Head Coach Sergio Diaz and Assistant Coach Rimal Patel. Nine of the Mariners starters are underclassmen eligible to play again next year, so prospects are bright for the 2010 boys varsity at St. Monica.At the other end of the player pipeline, the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) wrapped its regular season late December, and all-star teams have started tournament play. With over 1,500 players each fall, AYSO is Santa Monica’s largest youth sports league. On President’s Day weekend, Santa Monica AYSO sent six teams to the annual Locomotion Tournament in Riverside. It is one of the state’s largest youth tournaments, hosting approximately 200 teams, some from out-of-state. The Santa Monica teams romped in Riverside. Four teams made it to the finals but fell just one game short of the Tournament Championship, including: Girls Under 10 coached by Jim Langan; Girls Under 12 coached by Sean Alatorre; Boys Under 12 coached by Christian Bordal; and Girls Under 14 coached by Gary Berry. The Boys Under 10 team, coached by Chubb Gallie, won it all. The champion players include: Juan Castillo, Aidan Cullen, Gregory Dauber, Jack DeMello, Russell Gallie, Andrew Moran, Chase Odening, Henry Schlessinger, Joey Wilson, and Sylvain Wolfe. At all age levels, Santa Monica continues to be a soccer powerhouse in Southern California.
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