SBSC U-15s win regional title, advance to nationals

The Santa Barbara Soccer Club’s boys 15-White won their second straight U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV championship on Sunday, beating FC Golden State Platinum in a penalty-kick shootout in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The 4-2 shootout victory sends Santa Barbara to the USYS National Championships in Overland Park, Kan., July 22-28. It marks the third time in four years Santa Barbara has won the region title and advanced to the nationals. The team won the U-14 national title last summer in South Carolina.

Santa Barbara fell behind early as FC Golden State scored just six minutes into the game on a goal by Joseph Celo.

Eric Contreras tallied the equalizer for Santa Barbara in the 68th minute. Juan Pablo Alvarez assisted on the play, setting up Contreras with a perfect cross from the left side.

Santa Barbara head coach Rudy Ybarra credited his team with playing a better attacking style in the second half.

“Proud of this team,” Ybarra said. “They find a way to win and show much heart and a will to win.”

The score remained 1-1 after 30 minutes overtime.

“(We) controlled the match for most of the game and the overtime period but could not capitalize on some good chances,” said Ybarra.

In the shootout, Contreras returned to goalkeeper and stopped two Golden State shots. He also delivered the deciding PK.

Tim Heiduk, Lucky Puengrod, Francisco Arroyo also converted for Santa Barbara.

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