Action was fast and furious last weekend as the Santa Monica American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) crowned its fall ’09 champions in the U10, U12, and U14 divisions. With state-of-art artificial turf all-weather fields at the ready, the league went forward with quarter- and semi-final play on a wet and wild rain-drenched Saturday. Most of the players didn’t seem to mind playing in the wet as the parents huddled and shivered on the sidelines. Despite one rain squall after the next, the fields remained remarkably playable although the city gained a temporary reservoir of sorts near the southern-most goal by late Saturday afternoon.
As if scripted, Sunday welcomed drenching sun just in time for the finals. Each team has its own story. The U12 division provided two of the more unexpected championship matches. In Girls U12, the undefeated Silver Bullets, capably coached by James Encinas and Kevin Brunskill, were heavy favorites against Watchamacallits coached by Jim Langan and Randy Banchik. The Bullets played their usual steady game, only to be undone by no fewer than three breakaway goals by striker Ella Larsen whose hat trick sealed victory 3-0 for Coach Langan’s squad.
In Boys U12 the Blue Bombers, coached by Chris Byrne, put together a championship run for the ages. The Bombers won only two regular season games and entered the playoffs seeded eighth. To win top laurels, the team had to best four of the Division’s five top seeds. One playoff game on Saturday against Coach Donoso’s Red Bulls was tied after overtime and went to penalty kicks in driving rain. On Sunday, the Bombers faced Coach Costen’s Revolution. Revolution had defeated Bombers 5-0 less than two weeks earlier. In the Sunday’s final, the score was 0-0 into the fourth quarter when Revolution scored. A few minutes later the Bombers replied to tie the game 1-1, and the game was still tied 1-1 after two overtime periods. In penalty kick shoot-out, Bomber keeper Ben Nazareth-Goodman blocked Revolution’s first shot, and a few more penalty kicks later the Blue Bombers were Division U12 champions.
In other action, Coach Dom Falco’s Girls U10 Crazy 8’s completed an undefeated season, besting Coach Berry’s Dynamite Ketchup in the final. In Boys U10, Coach Odenings Beasts Unleashed defeated Coach Monrose’s Orange Blazers. In Girls U14, Coach Acosta’s Lamp Post took top honors, defeating Coach Alatorre’s Bombdiggitti. In Boys U14, Coach Sciupac’s Might Tigers defeated Coach Ayala’s Nitro for the championship.
The six champion teams will move on to represent Santa Monica against other AYSO region champions in January. With over 1,500 players, AYSO is Santa Monica’s largest youth sports league and last Saturday, also its wettest!
Contact Dave Quick