After defeating ESL – Mead 4-1 in the Cal South Mayors Youngers Boys 2006 Division Semifinal on Saturday afternoon at the SilverLakes Sports Complex, Beach FC Coach Gilbert Rocha, Sr. stayed up late that night with his assistant coach, and son (his namesake), analyzing and coming up with tactics for the big game on Sunday where they would match up against HDYSL Rage FC. Although he was confident in his players’ talent and skills, he couldn’t stop thinking about what the next day would hold.
Fortunately for Coach Rocha and his team, the sleepless night paid off as he and his team lifted the championship trophy on Sunday afternoon after defeating Rage 4-1 at the SilverLakes Sports Complex’s Field 5. The joy and happiness could not be hidden from both the players and the coaches’ faces, as the team accomplished something they had worked all year for.
“It’s a great accomplishment, being first-year coach, winning State Cup, one of the bigger tournaments,” assistant coach Rocha exclaimed. “For the team, like my dad said as well, we did struggle in the beginning of the season. We were only having three, four players show up to our practice, to our games. This season, we only won a total of two games and we lost the rest.
“I’m proud of the boys, they came together, they clicked in that second game and like I said, we didn’t look back until this game. It’s a great accomplishment of winning,” he added.
The road was tough for the Rocha father and son team, as it was for HDYSL Rage. Just like their opponents, the coaches struggled to put a full team together, not counting on the sufficient number of rostered players. It got to a point where Coach Rocha almost forfeited the team from participating in this year’s State Cup. However, the father and son team got together and began recruiting players through their area.
Beach began the tournament earning a 2-2 draw with MSA FC, but bounced back and proved themselves in their next matches, scoring 18 goals leading up to the final championship match.
The rest is history.
For the younger Rocha, being crowned as the State Cup Mayors Division Championship team meant a lot for several reasons, not just to see the happy faces on the players’ faces, but to fulfill a dream he’s had since being a Cal South player of winning a State Cup or National Cup, as well as winning it in his first year as a coach.
“I’ve always come close [to winning], but we always lost in the final, so I know what [Rage] is feeling,” assistant coach Rocha reminisced. “But you can only grow from this, take this as an experience, take it as motivation to come back next year stronger and accomplish greater things,” he finalized.