Heading into the Cal South State Cup tournament, Team USA coach Juan Vallin knew his team would be truly challenged. Not only were the boys playing a year up, but Vallin knew that the Cal South State Cup is one of the toughest competitions in the nation.
Therefore, in order to prepare for the tournament, Coach Vallin focused on working on three vital things to get his team up to speed- running, touching of the ball and communication. Nine games, 31 goals in favor and seven goals against later, all the training and effort Team USA put in ahead of the tournament paid off as they were crowned Cal South State Cup Governors Division Boys Under 14 Champions.
“To me it means a whole lot coming from a small town and coming with these kids. Nobody gave us a chance, it means pretty much everything to me,” coach Vallin said about the championship.
“Every kid brings in something different. Nobody is more than anyone, and nobody is less than anyone. It’s a team effort – it starts from the goalie all the way to the forwards, to the coaches, to the parents that help us out every day; day in and day out and they make this a special team,” he added.
Coach Vallin couldn’t be prouder of his team, including players, coaches and parents, who all put in the same effort to make the State Cup Championship a reality. Despite Vallin knowing the high level of competition the team was going to face, he never expected less than the best out of each and every one of his players and in the end, in his eyes, is what made the difference on the pitch.
“The only thing I told them is to play hard every game and see where it takes us,” the Team USA coach said. “I never told them, ‘we’re only going to go this far,’ or ‘we’re going to fall short.’ I just said, ‘play hard every game, give me your best and see where it takes us.’ Thank God that every game that they played brought us to the final and now we leave here as State Cup Champions.”