When Beach FC’s Boys 2008 team first came together at the start of the year, coach Benny Artiaga was only counting on three players and, at the time, didn’t have much of a vision for the team. However, as Beach FC’s Director of the Boys Program, he was determined to coach this team along with his brother George, his first step into bringing the Boys Program up to par with the nationally renowned Girls Program.
By the first game, Coach Artiaga’s vision was becoming clearer with 14 players committed. By the end of the season, he and his team were lifting the Cal South State Cup Mayors BU9 Division Championship after defeating UIFC Elite in the final match at Temecula’s Galway Downs.
“I’m still breathing hard, it was so dramatic,” he said after the game. “We faced, by far the toughest team we’ve faced in the tournament. We had to hang on and our kids stepped up. When Santi, one of our best players, went down two games ago, we had to figure out how we were going to get through it. But the beauty of this age group and coaching them so young, you just never know who’s going to step up. The boys did a great job.”
It was that type of resiliency that this group had that Coach Artiaga knew would take this team far. When he had to sit out for three months due to back surgery, the team could have decided to not go to the training sessions, or simply leave the team. However, that was not the case. The players and their families stuck to Coach Artiaga’s plan for the team, and despite his long record of State Championships with high school and college teams, this championship is just a bit more sweeter.
“I was telling our parents that I’ve won State Championships in college and high school, and I put this moment above any of them,” Coach Artiaga said. “To see the reward of little kids working so hard and trusting what they’re doing and seeing the parents support.
“That’s what’s so special. It started off as a vision a year ago today where we had no clue where we were going with it and to be able to put together a team like this and represent Beach FC,” he finalized.