The next generation of prep soccer stars is coming to a local pitch near you real soon.
The Santa Barbara Soccer Club’s Boys Under-14 White team last weekend captured the championship of the Cal South National Cup in San Juan Capistrano, beating the top-ranked South Bay Gunners 1-0 in the final.
The SBSC won seven straight matches against some of the top youth programs in the country to win a National Cup championship for the second time in three years. The same group of players won as U-12s and went on to take the Region IV national title, the highest honor for a team in that age group.
The U-14s advance to the Far West Regional Championships next month (June 17-24) in Phoenix, Ariz. If they win there, they’d move on to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C. in July.
Coached by Rudy Ybarra, the SBSC beat out the top 46 teams in Southern California, including year-round soccer academies, to win the National Cup.
Santa Barbara started its road by blanking Poway Vaqueros 7-0 and Chivas USA Academy 2-0 in bracket pool play in Lancaster to advance to the Round of 32. The locals defeated Riverside FC 1-0 and CFC Untouchables 2-1 to reach the quarterfinals. They then knocked off Attack FC 2-1 and perennial power Pateadores 2-1 to make the final against the defending national champions.
Chairat Puengrod scored the game-winning goal in the title match off an assist from Francisco Arroyo in the first half. The defense and the play of goalkeeper Eduardo Delgado made it stand up.
“Shutting out the Gunners was a complete team effort on defense as every player played solid defensively.” coach Ybarra said. “Goalkeeper Eduardo Delgado was outstanding in goal and had a solid game.”
Members of the SBSC U-14 White are Eduardo Delgado, Eric Contreras, Tanner Mees, Shea Blackman, Jacob Blacker, Tony Andoyan, Juan Pablo Alvarez, Tim Heiduk, Carson Vom Steeg, Francisco Arroyo, Benjamin Garcia, Brandon Sanchez, Giovanny Acosta, Jules Pasco, Brian Finger and Chairat Puengrod. Ybarra was assisted by his son, Junior Ybarra, and UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. Bethany Mees is the team manager.