In the 2017 California Regional League Season, San Diego Surf was a step away from earning their berth into the US Youth Soccer Far West Regionals. However, after being tied in points for first place with Beach FC, Surf’s sole loss in the season to the same team would keep them from further contention.
Instead of giving up, the girls coached by Coach Craig Barclay found themselves motivated to push through and not let it happen again. And that’s exactly what happened one year later.
“[The loss] motivated the girls to work harder at practice, it motivated us to make sure that we didn’t have those failures again,” Barclay said. “We knew where we had gone wrong as a team, where to improve from. Credit to the girls, they stuck to it and they made sure that they fix those mistakes, practice it every day and they were committed, and they went on and won CRL this year, which is fantastic.”
A win in CRL would take them to Far West Regionals, and after sweeping through that tournament, their eyes shifted into winning the most coveted trophy in youth soccer, the US Youth Soccer National Championship, a title they never stopped fighting for since falling short in the 2017 California Regional League.
“The Nationals mean everything to us,” said Surf center midfielder Ella Emri. “We worked so hard to get here and it was just an exciting moment and it just means we’re the best in the U.S.”
“I think it’s a physical reward of all of the hard work that they’ve put in for the past three years,” coach Barclay said. “It’s been a really long journey, a lot of blood, a lot of sweat, a lot of tears, a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, a lot of commitment has been put into winning this and I think it just represents all of that, all of the passion and dedication that they’ve committed to in the past three years.”
Knowing their tenure with coach Barclay would be up at the end of the year, the girls knew how to finish their last season together with a cherry on top of the cake. To clinch a national title is no easy feat, but coach Barclay knows the girls have the perfect formula to continue fighting in future seasons.
“It’s been a fantastic three years, I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids. They’re all different in their own individual ways, they find that balance between having fun and working their socks off, and I think that balance is part of the success that’s lead to them being champions,” Barclay finalized.