Over 10,000 teams make the attempt to clinch the US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup. However, only one team in each age category reaches the top, and 2017 was Downtown Soccer Club’s year.
To get to the coveted spot, Downtown SC’s 14U Boys team began its journey by winning the Cal South State Cup Presidents Division in a hard-fought match against Boca Juniors LA back in early March in Temecula’s Galway Downs. From there, coach Manuel Vasquez worked with the group in the month’s leading up to June’s Region IV Presidents Cup in Salt Lake City.
Through the month’s after clinching the Cal South State Cup 14UB Presidents Division, coach Vasquez worked with his team day in and day out, but thanks to a little help from an acquaintance in Salt Lake City, he was able to motivate the team with a trip to Rio Tinto Stadium to see how Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake players trained.
The team went off to be completely motivated and prepared to win the Region IV Presidents Cup title, and most importantly, the National Presidents Cup Championship.
“[The National Presidents Cup Championship means a lot, it means that we worked hard, all the hard work we put in since we started playing State Cup has paid off,” Vasquez said. “The training sessions, extra hours on the field, in the end was all worth it.”
All the hard work, endless hours of training and travelling, and thousands invested in one year of soccer all came down to 70 minutes of play, not just for the players, but for the families on the sideline as well. And just like for coach Vazquez, the National Presidents Cup Championship meant the world for 14-year-old Kevin Flores, who dedicated the championship to everyone involved.
“When we won the National Championship, the top tournament we’ve ever played, that means a lot,” the Downtown Soccer Club midfielder said. “It was very emotional that we won, it took hard work, it was very far; for our parents, it cost them money, we did it for our parents and for ourselves, our teammates.”
Now, Downtown wants to reach greater horizons as they are currently participating in Cal South affiliate Coast Soccer League’s Gold Level in search of participating in Cal South’s National Cup and earning the trip to Hawaii, host of the 2018 US Youth Soccer Far West Regionals.
“This team isn’t going to stay here,” coach Vasquez said. “Our goal is to be among the top teams, and why not win another championship.”