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Santa Barbara Soccer Club’s Boys’ U-12 Team Is Best in the West

Squad tears through Albuquerque tournament for regional win and third-place national ranking

On June 21, the Santa Barbara Soccer Club Boys’ U-12 team, coached by Rudy Ybarra and Tim Vom Steeg, head coach for the men’s soccer team at UCSB, found themselves in Albuquerque for the 2010 Far West Regional Championship Series.

To start their run at the National Cup, they competed in group play along with three other teams from the West. Their first game was against Alum Rock PAC Impact from San Jose. In the 38th minute, Peter Bermant scored the first goal of the game to put SBSC ahead, but the Impact quickly countered with a goal to tie the game 1-1. With 10 minutes left in the game, Impact scored its second goal, but SBSC was not able to rebound and lost, 2-1.

SBSC played its second game Tuesday against the Oregon state champions, Willamette United Arsenal. SBSC pulled out a 5-0 victory. The goals were scored by Carson Vom Steeg, Giovanni Acosta, Eric Contreras, Shea Blackman and Tony Andoyan. After its big win against Willamette, SBSC went on to win its next game, but only by a slim 1-0 against the Utah champions from Salt Lake City, Sparta 98 Premier JK. SBSC was clearly the most dominant team when it came to attacking in the first half, but SBSC had a couple of close calls when the Utah champs counterattacked. SBSC’s midfielders and forwards were major factors in the team’s success, but so was the SBSC defense — including Tim Heiduk, Benjamin Garcia, Eric Contreras and Lucky Puengrod — that stayed strong even through the penetrating counterattacks.

Lalo Delgado and Eric Contreras, SBSC’s goalkeepers, came up with some big saves to keep SBSC in the running for the finals. Francisco Arroyo and Raul Guerrero made huge contributions to SBSC’s successful attack and defense as left midfielders. The only goal of the game was scored by Tanner Mees, who received a pass from Jake Blacker, and the boys landed a spot in the quarterfinals on June 25.

In the quarterfinals, Tanner Mees came up with another impressive goal to put the SBSC boys’ team ahead 1-0 over Pikes Peak Rush Nike-WC3 from Colorado. After halftime, Juan Pablo found his way to the goal, which planted the Santa Barbara team up, 2-0. The SBSC boys kept pressing and scored two more goals to ensure their passage into the semifinals. Giovanni Acosta scored the third and Benji Garcia had the fourth goal. It would have been 5-0, but the referee disallowed a goal scored by Lalo Delgado although the ball went through a hole in the net.

The Cal South champions went on to play in the semifinals, one step closer to winning the finals, where they played Sparta 98 Premier JK from Utah. SBSC took a 1-0 lead at halftime, on a goal by Shea Blackman and, with five minutes to go, Carson Vom Steeg put another one into the back of the net, giving them a 2-0 lead.

In the finals, the Santa Barbara boys took on Arsenal Colorado Gold of Fort Collins, Colo., and took a 1-0 lead in the first 15 minutes on a header by Shea Blackman. Just before the half, Jake Blacker scored a perfect goal off a perfect diagonal pass by Peter Bermant to put Santa Barbara up, 2-0. To finish the game, SBSC scored one last goal to secure the victory.

SBSC won its region, which makes the team one of the four top teams in the nation, and the team also won the Fair Play Award for its sportsmanship over the course of the tournament. Overall, the Santa Barbara Soccer Club team scored 16 goals in six matches, and remarkably, allowed only two goals. As of June 21, just before this tournament, according to National Soccer Ranking.com, the SBSC Boys’ Under 12 team was ranked third in the nation.

— William Bermant will be a sophomore at Dos Pueblos High in the fall and is a longtime member of the Santa Barbara Soccer Club.

Tony Andoyan races downfield, trailed by, from left, Peter Bermant and Benji Garcia, at the 2010 Far West Regional Championship Series in Albuquerque.
Tony Andoyan races downfield, trailed by, from left, Peter Bermant and Benji Garcia, at the 2010 Far West Regional Championship Series in Albuquerque. (Andrew Bermant photo)

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