Another successful Cal South Recreational All-Star Tournament of Champions is now in the books after two days of activity that concluded on Sunday evening at the SilverLakes Sports Complex in Norco, venue that hosted the event for the first time in its three-year history. All Cal South Districts were well represented throughout the tournament, with teams coming from all over Southern California including San Diego and Santa Maria.
“It was a great experience,” said Ricardo Alvarez, Big Bear FC U-10 coach. “We like to come down from the mountains, come out here and experience different weather. It was a bit windy, but it was a good experience, kids had fun and that’s all that matters.”
“We’re just happy to be here in Norco, such great facilities,” said Hector Tovar, Cal South Recreational Manager. “Too bad for the winds, but we had teams representing District 1 to District 7, Boys and Girls in age brackets U10, U12 and U14. Everyone seems to be having a great time and I am too!”
Recreational boys and girls players from ages 10 to 14 came together for the first time at the SilverLakes Sports Complex to begin activity on Saturday morning. While some teams had been training together for a full year, All-Star Teams were formed and began training in November.
In comparison to the previous two editions, an “Open Division” was added to this year’s tournament, allowing recreational teams that participated in Sanctioned Cal South Recreational Leagues to participate. The usual All-Star Teams are composed of the top recreational players from one recreational league that earned their way to the tournament through each District’s Commissioner’s Cup.
Regardless of the Division, players gave their best throughout the tournament, as well as demonstrating sportsmanship after each game with the traditional high-five line.
Aside from the winds that hit Norco, the first round of games was among the most memorable for many young players, not only helping their teams to victory, but also an opportunity to stand out amongst their teammates. Following the Recreational All-Star Tournament of Champions tradition, coaches from each team selected one player from the opposite team as the “Game MVP,” awarding these players a special coin for giving their all on the field.
“My experience has been amazing,” exclaimed Santa Maria Valley YSA All-Stars United forward Marissa Jordan, who received the Game MVP coin. “I’m just so glad I can be here; it means a lot to me. I just love playing with my team, having fun in hotels. It’s a lot of fun!”
After the conclusion of the group phase with three games played, the top two teams from each group moved on to the final to dispute the championship title, while the third and fourth placed teams matched up in a consolation match to officially decide the third and fourth place in the age group; players from the top four teams would receive medals, while the top three teams picked up trophies.
The smile on each player’s faces said it all, proving that the Cal South Recreational All-Star Tournament of Champions was a success and that this tournament proved to fulfill the main objective of recreational soccer, to practice a fun sport like soccer in a fun and safe environment.
Check out a few photos from this weekend’s Cal South Rec All-Star Tournament of Champions: