If there’s any time of uncertainty for any coach, it’s during the first 20 minutes of each match. For Beach FC Coach Eduardo Nunes, the Cal South State Cup Presidents Girls 2004 Division Championship match against UIFC Venom was no different.
As the game rolled on, though, he saw his girls get comfortable with the ball, looking to move forward, but when halftime came around, he was happy to have a few minutes to talk to his players, have them settle into the match and make a few adjustments to their game plan. After cracking the scoreboard with a 1-0 lead and being able to sustain it, Coach Nunes and his team were rewarded for months of hard work.
“This is something special,” the Beach FC coach said after the game. “It’s unique, it’s special and it’s neat for these kids and it’s an experience that they’ll always remember, they’ll always talk about. That’s what I’m happy about, that they get to go through it.
“This is one heck of a group, I’m so proud of this group. I’m very happy with this group and what they’ve accomplished and the fact that they were able to work and get rewarded at the same time is special,” he added.
The journey to the championship match was not an easy one. As the tournament kicked off, Coach Nunes expected the competition level to gradually increase as his team moved on from group to knockout stage. However, he was surprised to see that all eight of his opponents would put up a great fight on the field, creating a greater challenge for him and his team.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this difficult the whole way through,” coach said. “I thought it was going to gradually get more difficult, but it was tough the whole way. It says a lot about the soccer in the States now and the level that it’s at, and that’s pretty neat to experience as well.”
This Beach FC team took time to fully prepare for the Cal South State Cup, but the challenge has not ended there. Now, Coach Nunes and his girls must prepare for a greater challenge, playing in the 2017 US Youth Soccer Region IV Presidents Cup tournament set to take place from June 13-18 in Salt Lake City. Should the girls have a successful run, they will qualify to the National Presidents Cup that will take place in July in Florida.
For now, Coach Nunes wants to soak in the State Cup win, and then get down to work.
“I’m definitely going to let them celebrate and have some fun, but really we’re going to go after this,” he said. “We’re going to really enjoy the experience and hopefully, the icing on the cake would be a successful run in Regionals.”