The road to the Far West Regionals in Salt Lake City is a path the South Bay G2002 team has traveled before. This is the second time this squad has made it to the Regionals, having attended as a wildcard a couple years ago. This time, the South Bay girls are entering play as the reigning CalSouth State Cup Presidents Division Champions. Coach Polo Aviles said his team knows full well the path will not be easy, and preparations began almost as soon as State Cup ended.
“We finished first out of 71 teams in State Cup, but it wasn’t an easy road to the final,” Aviles said. “We had to face some very competitive teams and almost found ourselves out of the competition in the round of 16 match vs. Apple Valley Storm. In that match, we had to come from behind to tie, and play two overtime halfs before winning it in kicks from the mark.”
With such State Cup experiences as well as challenging Coast Soccer League schedule the last two seasons, Aviles said his team is more battle tested than ever. The 2018 Regionals in Salt Lake City start on June 12. As part of the team’s preparations, the South Bay G02 team entered the Albion Las Vegas Memorial Cup tournament for the long weekend. The South Bay girls reached the tournament finals, before falling to Players SC and taking home a runner-up medal.
“I want my team to be more detached from the wins and losses and be more focused on doing the little things well,” Aviles said. “When you focus on getting the win, it can suffocate you, especially during State Cup and now Regionals, when the pressure gets thick. It is not what the coach knows; it is what his players have learned that will get you deep into State Cup or Regionals.”
South Bay will play under the new “AYSO United” brand, thanks to AYSO sister clubs in South Orange County. AYSO United is AYSO’s official club program, where players enjoy a more advanced play, participate in intense competition and receive cutting-edge training while still enjoying the benefits of AYSO and its Six Philosophies. AYSO United absorbed AYSO Pacific Soccer Club, where South Bay played under their umbrella to provide the team a greater challenge than San Diego County could provide.
The team’s “home region” is Region 712—South Bay AYSO/South Bay Matrix, the Region where most of the team hails from. New players have been skillfully integrated and welcomed over the years. “I have learned over the years how to hold a team together. How to lift some up, how to calm others down, until finally they’ve got one heartbeat, together, a team and that’s what South Bay soccer is all about. It’s our recipe for success,” said Aviles, who also happens to be South Bay Matrix Director of Coaching.
The G2002 team is actively fundraising for assistance in travel costs associated with the Far West Regionals. To help the team with a donation, please contact Luisa Dasis at firstname.lastname@example.org .