Western U.S. champs lose 1-0 heartbreaker to South Texas

The Santa Barbara Soccer Club’s Boys ’93 White team had their unbeaten streak come to an abrupt end this past weekend at the US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup National Finals in Raleigh, North Carolina. After 15 straight wins beginning in April and running through the California State Cup tournament, the Presidents Cup Region IV tournament in Pasco, Washington in June and culminating in the Presidents Cup National Finals in Raleigh, Santa Barbara fell to the South Texas Thunder United, 1-0.

Santa Barbara earned its spot in the finals after wining in pool play, and beating South Texas in the opener 4-1.  Along the way they beat New York, 1-0 and St. Louis, 4-0 setting up the final match with South Texas.

At the Western Regional tournament in Pasco, Washington Santa Barbara won that competition by beating the state champs from Washington and Oregon and a Wild Card entry from Oregon. Santa Barbara conceded only one goal in that tournament while scoring 22.

The team financed their travels to these two tournaments by soliciting donations from the community and raffling off two sets of Lakers tickets to two regular season games next season.  In addition, Cal South, the US Youth Soccer organization for Southern California provided significant financial and logistical support.

The team is coached by former UCSB star and current assistant coach, Neil Jones.  Jones took over the team in January after its disappointing 2008 Coast Soccer League season, finishing 3-6-3 in the Silver Elite North division. Since that time in addition to their State and Regional titles, the squad won the Santa Barbara Spring Cup and was a finalist in the CVU spring tournament in May.

The team is made up of players from the tri-counties including Santa Barbara, Camarillo, Santa Ynez/Solvang, Lompoc and San Luis Obispo.  The team is managed by Ward Ritter and is made up of Sachio Badham, Javier Buenrostro, Matthew Connely, Erick Cordova, Kai Gamble, Ricky Lopez, Jeff Lovato, Miguel Lucas, Muhammad Mehai, Kane Nania, Kenny Pina, Ryan Richardson, Troy Ritter, Avery Schwartz, Paul Sullivan, Alex Uribe and Arturo Zaragosa.