A Santa Barbara’s U-14 girls all-star soccer team won the AYSO National Games championship.
More than 225 teams competed in the National Games from July 6-11 in Palm Beach, Fla. Team Oswego won the championship among the U-14 girls’ teams on July 11.
The Team Oswego girls are 12- to 14-year-old Santa Barbara area soccer stars. They’ve been winning tournaments together since January, including the tough AYSO Area 10W championship. At the National Games, they scored 22 goals against their opponents and allowed only three goals.
Team Oswego has been fundraising for their trip to the National Games for several months. Remarkably, two of the team members had never ridden on an airplane.
Although the weather conditions were brutal for these Southern California coastal girls — 95 degrees and 80 percent humidity on the field — they managed to sweat their way to domination.
Oswego opened the tournament with back-to-back 6-0 wins over teams from Michigan and New York. The team finished first in their group with a tie against a team from Illinois, and then a 3-0 win over another California team from Redlands.
Oswego then rolled through the quarterfinals and semifinals with 1-0 wins over two tough teams from Hawaii.
The championship game pitted Oswego against one of the team’s rivals from Southern California — San Fernando Valley’s “North Valley” all-stars. Oswego and North Valley have played each other twice in other Southern California tournaments, each team winning one game.
Oswego dominated the National Games Championship match, with a convincing 3-1 victory.
Oswego girls are forever grateful to their incredible coaches, Raul Baez and Hugh Hollis.