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Girls Jul 20, 2015

San Diego Surf Cup: Talented field of teams set for girls showcase

The soccerloco San Diego Surf Cup, in its 35th year, attracts some of the top teams and individual talents from all across the country. On the girls side of the competition this year, teams coming from as far as the East Coast– New York, New Jersey and Virginia—as well as several teams from the Midwest, West Coast and even Canada, will descend upon the San Diego area and take the pitch at two of the top facilities in the country: the San Diego Polo Club and the SoCal Sports Complex.

The U-15 to U-18 portion of the tournament runs July 25-27. Teams will play two group games on the 25th, and one group game and, should they advance, one quarterfinal game on the 26th. The 27th holds the semifinal and final. Teams must win their four-team bracket to advance to the quarterfinal.

One of the teams looking to bring home the championship is Santa Clara 99 Green, a side that has spent the last year dominating their age group in Northern California in a host of US Club Soccer and US Youth Soccer competitions. Ever since the girls returned from high school play in early spring, they have had overwhelming success at their tournaments in addition to winning their spring league.

The squad won the Northern California Spring Showcase in early March before capturing the NorCal State Cup later in the month. In April, they triumphed at the Cal North State Cup, meaning they currently hold the title of state champion. The success carried over to May, when the team won its club’s invitational tournament. After a heartbreaking loss in the quarterfinals of the US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships in June, the team has regained its winning form and recently took home the trophy at the Davis Legacy College Showcase.

+Read: San Diego hosts best of West Coast, nation and beyond at Surf Cup

“We’ve got a very talented bunch,” says head coach Demitri Cacoyannis. “We’re very quick in transition and counter-attacking. We’ve got speed up top. We possess the ball fairly well and if the other team loses the possession, we’re quick to get up and attack the goal and create chances.”

The team utilizes a 4-3-3 formation with Belinda Ascencio occupying the center forward role. According to Cacoyannis, she’s a great finisher who moves off the ball well, creating room for midfielders to operate. Joining her up top are Sophie Mendoza and Kyllie Glock.

“[Sophie is] extremely tenacious; she’s fast and a good finisher,” says Cacoyannis. “She supplies lots of assists. Kyllie is really, really fast and a good finisher.”
Cacoyannis also mentions Oryann Addison as the team’s engine in central midfield and Victoria Chavez as an attacking mid who times her runs into the box well and connects with the forwards effectively.

The team plays through defensive midfielder Chloe Cacoyannis, however.

“She sees the game really well,” says Cacoyannis. “She takes the majority of our set pieces, has a great shot and great passing range.”

The defense, led by stalwart Hailey Prentice in the center and speedy Monica Hrncir on the wing, concedes less than one goal per game.

“She’s extremely fast and covers a lot of ground and backs up the other three,” says Cacoyannis of Prentice. “Monica is defensively-sound and she makes great runs forward as well.”

+Read: U.S. U-20 WNT heads to camp as World Cup Qualifying prep continues

The U-15 age group promises for some intriguing competition. De Anza Force 00, led by a duo of prolific goal scorers—Diana Morales and Lucienne Tang, will compete in Bracket F. De Anza won the NorCal State Cup in March and recently finished second in the Northern California NPL league. The team that won the league, Livermore Fusion FC Maroon, will also be playing in the tournament. Livermore will face tough competition from host and 2014 US Youth Soccer National Champion San Diego Surf Academy, and a tough New York SC side.

The U-16 competition also features some of the nation’s top teams. Santa Clara Sporting is the top-ranked team and placed in Bracket E. The most competitive bracket could be Bracket G, which includes ECNL playoff team West Coast FC, led by top prospects such as U.S. Youth National Team midfielder Kailey Smith, who had 10 goals and 13 assists this season in ECNL play. Another U.S. Youth National Team pool player, forward Kayla Cannon, had 12 goals and 5 assists for West Coast FC this season, while her running mate, Allison Cook, led the team with 14 goals and picked up 5 assists.

West Coast FC will go up against the likes of 2015 Region IV semifinalists, Palo Alto SC Blue, Washington State Cup finalists ISC Gunners 99 and 2015 Players Showcase top division champions CV Crossfire 99 Red from Northern California.

“The level of competition is really strong down there, and they come from all around,” says Cacoyannis. “We’re really looking forward to playing different teams and strong teams.”

+Read: Broadcast schedule announced for US Youth Soccer National Championships

Four East Coast teams will be in the U-17 division, including Annandale United of Virginia, which was recently runner-up at the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships, won the PWSI President’s Day College Showcase back in February and the top flight of the WAGS Tournament last October. Recently, Annandale has defeated state champions from Delaware, West Virginia, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York. Another team to beat in the age group is Lamorinda United 98, coming off a division title at the Davis Legacy College Showcase and a Cal North State Cup title in the past three months alone.

The U-18 age group is chock full of talented teams. Juventus SC Zebre, the reigning NorCal NPL Spring League champions, will be there. Several other elite level teams will also be in attendance, and one of the largest soccer clubs from Canada, North Shore Girls Soccer Club, will make the trip.

Over 400 college soccer coaches overall are expected to attend, including women’s head coaches from Auburn, Brown, Davidson, Houston, Kansas State, Missouri, Providence, Southern California, Stanford and Virginia. The West Coast schools, as expected, are well represented, with nearly every University of California and California State location being in attendance.

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