For Beach FC, becoming US Youth Soccer National Champions wasn’t even on the agenda. After finishing fourth in the California Regional League (CRL) 15U girls age group and bowing out of the Cal South National Cup in the Round of 16, the season was supposed to be over.
But then coach Robert DeMelo’s phone rang. It was Cal South asking if he and his team were interested in taking one of the wildcard spots available to the 2018 US Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships in Honolulu. After consulting his players parents, unknowingly, Beach had signed on to becoming National Champions.
“[The National Championship] means the world,” said Beach FC defender Sophia Schrock. “All of our training and all of our hard work that we put into months before this, it just means everything. To have our whole team there and share the moment with everyone, to win it all and bring it back to California, it’s just unbelievable.
“The road to get to Texas and be able to lift that trophy started in CRL,” coach DeMelo said. “We tied a couple of games, lost one and it became difficult because if you don’t win from the beginning, you’re never going to catch up, and that’s exactly what happened.
“Going in as a wildcard, it’s not what we were expecting, but it happened,” he added. “Moving on to Texas, I carried the same kids with me, and here we are, having a conversation about winning a National Championship.”
The road to lifting a National Championship is not an easy task, and Beach FC weren’t the exception. From the moment Beach FC found out they were heading to Far West Regionals, coach DeMelo began working on getting his squad ready and fit in order to represent Cal South and Southern California in the best possible way.
From running on the beach wearing sweaters in 105-degree weather, to giving up their cellphones at night, every single detail that was put into place for Beach FC helped the girls be ready and focused for their National Championship final against Ohio North’s Cleveland FC on a hot and humid, Texas Sunday morning.
After 80 minutes of rain-drenched regulation time, two ten-minute overtime halves separated both teams from clinching a national title. Beach FC went down a player in regulation time and fought mentally to stay focused in the game, ignoring the effects of exhausted legs. Then, finally, with five minutes to go in the second overtime half, Amanda Scott pushed the ball into the back of the net for the ultimate 1-0 win.
“It’s the way it should be though; a final should be like that, you should suffer,” coach DeMelo said. “It just tasted so much better at the end, all the suffering, the overtime – the kids were just done, they had nothing else to give and it was just an amazing feeling at the end for these girls.”
Catch Beach FC as they return to the Cal South National Cup in 2019 in an attempt to becoming back-to-back US Youth Soccer National Champions. Click here to visit the club’s website.