For Downtown LA SC, losing the 2019 Cal South State Cup Presidents Division 14 and Under Boys Championship was another final lost. In the two years that the team has been together, the team led by coach Santos Herrera had lost its sixth final. Although disappointing and frustrating, coach Herrera told his team to keep their heads up, that their moment will come.
That was when he received a phone call from Cal South notifying him that there was a wildcard slot for the team into the US Youth Soccer Far West Presidents Cup. Without thinking twice, the Downtown coach accepted the slot, and their quest for a title began.
Downtown’s first stop would be at a familiar site, SilverLakes Park in Norco, home of the Cal South State Cup, but this time, to take on the best in the West as part of the US Youth Soccer Far West Presidents Cup Championships.
After finishing in second place of their group, and taking their Quarterfinal match to overtime, Downtown faced a familiar club, InterAmerica Chivas, a team they had fallen to in the Cal South State Cup final. This time, the story would be different, with Downtown taking the 2-0 win, and the ticket onto the regional final. Matching up against RSL-AZ Yuma, Downtown clinched their ticket onto Nationals after taking a strong 6-3 win over the Arizona team, becoming regional champions.
Another step in the right direction was taken, but challenges still laid ahead, both on and off the field. After clinching the Far West Presidents Cup Championship, tensions grew within the team, creating cliques that would ultimately affect their on-field performance. At that point, coach Herrera gathered the boys for a heart-to-heart, bringing the team together just in time for their National Presidents Cup campaign in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Downtown thrived as one, sweeping through the group phase, fighting for each other, and battling through the Tennessee humidity. The boys left everything they had on the field, leaving aside their differences as they earned a 3-0 victory over Illinois’s LG Celtics for the club’s second National Presidents Cup Championship in its history, and the third consecutive 14 and Under Boys title for a Cal South team.
For Downtown LA SC, winning the National Presidents Cup Championship was not just the end product of all the players’ hard work, but of their coaches, parents, families, club and most importantly, of their community and the endless support they receive in Downtown Los Angeles.
The reigning National President Cup Champions are currently participating in the California Regional League 2019-2020 Season in search for a berth into the 2020 US Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships.