While the younger age divisions of Santa Monica AYSO are still wrapping up the regular season, the two oldest divisions, Under 16 and Under 19, will conclude their playoffs this weekend against teams from other AYSO regions. This year one local team, Girls Under 16 Santa Monica #2, has had a simply stellar season. The squad is undefeated, 12-0-1, and Sunday they face perennial powerhouse Culver City for the championship.
Most of the players have been playing in Santa Monica AYSO for a decade, even longer. Top scorers include Julia Gomez, Karishma Narayan, Susie Scribner, Reva Santo and Tara Griffith. Defensive anchors include Kira Balaban, Jessie Garcia, and Monica Norris. Most coaches will tell that mid-field is where soccer games are won or lost, and the squad’s mid-fielders include Lily Monboquette, Caroline Huber, Melodee Piper, Cami Berry, Toni Garcia, Erika Molina, Jessica Pippin, and Caroline Huber. No team goes undefeated without great goal keeping, and Santa Monica #2 keepers Amanda Aden and Alexis Rosas have made key stops and saves all season long. Leading the charge are coaches Gary Berry and John Worthen who have worked mightily to improve player skills, teamwork, and motivation, and to observe AYSO tenets including good sportsmanship, “everyone plays,” and positive coaching.
AYSO’s older age divisions play an accelerated schedule to free the players for the start of the high school soccer season. Over the years, AYSO has been a significant feeder of soccer talent to Samohi, including the 2008 boys team that went undefeated, won the CIF Southern State championship and ended up ranked #2 among all high schools in the entire nation.