From their first game in the Cal South State Cup, Beach FC set the tone. No matter the circumstances, the opponent, location, or number of goals against them, the team as collective unit would arise to surprise.
Call them the comeback kids, but they’re ultimately US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup Champions.
“At the beginning of the year, we never looked that far,” said Beach FC coach Eduardo Nunes. “It’s one shot at the National Championship, it’s a one shot at the State Cup; you have to wait until next year to do it again. For the girls to put the work in and get rewarded at the end, that just felt great.”
Perhaps the road to clinching a National title was not on their mind when they started their season back in September 2016. Nor was participating in State Cup. However, “the stars aligned,” as coach Nunes said, and game after game, the 13-year-old girls proved their potential and maturity to their coach, coming back from games that seemed lost.
After a long expedition through the Cal South State Cup, US Youth Soccer Region IV Presidents Cup in Salt Lake City, their journey ended in Auburndale, Fla. for the National Presidents Cup Championship. Eleven months of hard work, dedication, team bonding, endless private training sessions came down to 70 minutes.
The first 35 minutes didn’t quite go as planned as the Long Beach-based team went down 1-0 to Ohio South’s Impact. Coach Nunes knew the fire, hunger and desire to clinch a national title was there. And so, eleven Beach FC girls jumped on the field, put all their experience and knowledge together, and simply played the best soccer they could for their teammates, family and friends.
“The National Championship means a lot because you have to go through State [Cup] and then you have to travel two times to get to Regionals and Nationals,” said Beach FC defender/midfielder Maddie Rael. “The fact that we beat so many teams out of 10,000 total, it’s crazy.”
As the new Cal South State Cup and National Cup seasons approach, Beach FC will have a new opportunity to once again battle it out against the toughest competition in the region. Upon the conclusion of their season, coach Nunes reflected on the team’s season, standing out the Cal South State Cup Semifinal as the moment he knew his girls were destined for a national title and prepared for what’s yet to come.
“I feel that California really prepared us for what we encountered beyond; that was the toughest tournament, the Cal South tournament,” coach Nunes said. “Out here in California, I felt that everyone had at least 11 players deep and it was a battle. These girls are at a completely different level now,” he finalized.