SBSC U15 boys begin play at national tournament

The Santa Barbara Soccer Club Boys Under-15 White open the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships on Tuesday against the team it beat for the U-14 national title last summer.

Santa Barbara faces Sunrise Elite of Florida to kick off the tournament in Overland Park, Kan. Santa Barbara won last year’s match in a penalty-kick shootout.

Santa Babara was drawn into group with Sunrise Elite, GSA Phoenix Red of Georgia and Vardar of Michigan.

The other four-team group consists of Bethesda Lions (Maryland), Dix Hill Elite (New York), Lehigh Valley United (Pennsylvania) and FC Dallas Premier (Texas).

The eight-team field is comprised of four USYS Region champions and the top four teams from the USYS National League. Santa Barbara won the Region 4 championship in Hawaii.

Santa Barbara plays GSA Phoenix Red on Wednesday and completes group play against Vardar on Friday.

The group winners play for the championship on Saturday.

Santa Barbara coach Rudy Ybarra told U.S. Youth Soccer that his boys have excelled at making the transition to the tougher competition at the U-15 level.

“The competition in these tournaments is very tough, and I think they showed a lot of character,” he said. “Of the four aspects of the game, the most important to conquer is the mental aspect. Our boys have shown they are mentally ready.

“This team has so much group continuity,” he added. “They are a family on and off the field. They look at soccer in a serious manner, because they know there will also be life experiences on the field. “This group is a pleasure to coach because they really care and work for each other. We have won three regional championships and three state championships. They aren’t egotists, and they know how to handle the pressure.”

Follow the Under-15 Boys group here.

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