Rancho Santa Fe soccer teams shine at top tournament

COAST CITIES — Rancho Santa Fe Attack 97 Green nailed a championship title at the recent soccerloco Surf Cup, at the Del Mar San Diego Polo Club fields July 27 through July 29 and Aug. 3 through Aug. 5.The 378 teams that participated in the tournament represent 22 state soccer associations, US youth soccer and Canada, Mexico and Germany. More than 670 teams applied for the 378 positions in the tournament, meaning the Tournament Committee had to turn away hundreds of teams, including five State Cup champions and finalists.“It’s obviously one of the best tournaments in the country and when you get that many quality teams together in one tournament, every game is going to be tough,” San Diego Surf SC Academy I Coach Seth Trembly said.

Yet despite the broad range of talent, Trembly’s team was just one of six local teams who won championship titles in the tournament. In the first weekend, Rancho Santa Fe Attack 97 Green defeated Fullerton Rangers White 4 to 1 to win the boys under-16 Gold title, while San Diego Surf ECNL Academy defeated So Cal Blues Dodge ECNL 1 to 0 to finish first in the girls under-17 Super division.

By the end of the second weekend, four more local clubs took home championships, including Pateadores San Diego (boys under-15), SD Surf SC Academy I (boys under-12 and girls under-13) and Nomads Munoz (boys under-10).

According to San Diego Surf ECNL Academy coach Ada Greenwood, though, the girls under-17 teams’ success wasn’t just the home-field advantage of “sleeping in their own beds.”

“Their focus and their commitment to each other was probably the biggest standout to me,” he said. “They really focused on the game plan the right way and kept each other accountable for everything on the field. We had a really strong team culture that weekend that made us tough to break down. We only let in one goal all weekend.”

The rest of the winners were dominated by fellow Californian clubs, as the state “generally has the best depth in their soccer league,” according to Greenwood.

More than 400 colleges and universities came to scout talent during the first weekend, tallying “more college coaches than at any other tournament,” Rancho Santa Fe Attack 97 coach Malcolm Tovey said. The attention from recruiters worked out well for many tournament participants; players on Tovey’s team received interest from colleges such as Princeton, Stanford, Harvard, Occidental and Yale.

For the players with years to go before college recruitment, though, the games are just “a good way to start out the year,” Trembly said.

San Diego Surf Cup is a 501(c3) not-for-profit aimed at promoting youth athletics, donating proceeds at the end of each year to non-profit soccer related organizations and charities. They donated $325,079 for the fiscal year 2012.

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