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Santa Barbara Soccer Club U18 Boys Win National Championship

The Santa Barbara Soccer Club U18 Boys captured the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship on Sunday in Frisco, Texas. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara Soccer Club U18 Boys captured the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship on Sunday in Frisco, Texas. (Santa Barbara Soccer Club photo)

The Santa Barbara Soccer Club’s under-18 boys team won the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship on Sunday with a 4-3 shootout victory over FC Golden State Platinum of Pasadena in Frisco, Texas. The teams from the Cal-South Soccer Association were tied 1-1 after regulation and overtime.

Julian Araujo scored the game-tying goal in the 84th minute and goalkeeper Edward Delgado stopped FC Golden State Platinum’s last two shootout attempts to give Santa Barbara the victory.

The national title is the third for this group of players, making Santa Barbara only the fifth group in U.S. youth soccer history to win three national championships. The SBSC won U14 titles in 2012 and 2013. It’s the fourth title overall for the club.

“When it comes down to it, they showed they have the heart of a champion,” Santa Barbara head coach Rudy Ybarra told U.S. Youth Soccer. “We went down 1-0, and they didn’t quit. It shows how much heart and determination we have.

“We are proud of them as a coaching staff, as parents and as a club. We are a small community and don’t have millions to choose from like the metropolitan areas. So player development and setting foundations is very important for us. Coaches don’t develop players. We set the foundation and they develop themselves through the love of the game.”

Santa Barbara did not lose a game in the tournament. It went 2-0-1 in group play, beating South San Jose PAC Indios (4-1) and Dix Hills, N.Y., Elite (2-0) and tying Arlington, Va., Impact (1-1). In the semifinals, SBSC rolled past Lehigh Valley, Pa., United 97 (4-1).

In the final, FC Golden State, a two-time national champion, took a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute when Eduardo Sanchez received a pass from Manuel Chavez on the left side before turning a defender and finding the back of the net.

Araujo equalized for Santa Barbara. He took a ball from the left flank in the box and attempted to cross it in front. An FC Golden State defender deflected the ball back to Araujo and he shot it into the net for the tying goal.

With the shootout score at 3-3, Delgado twice dived to his left to deny FC Golden State Platinum from scoring again.

Delgado won the Golden Gloves Award as the tournament's top goalkeeper.

Juan Pablo Alvarez was named the tournament MVP, and Rodney Michael and Delgado were named to the Best XI all-tournament team.

The Santa Barbara team members are Giovanny Acosta, Juan Pablo Alvarez, Julian Araujo, Francisco Arroyo, Matthew Bautista, Jacob Blacker, Dennis Cole, Sahid Conteh, Eric Contreras, Edward Delgado, Benjamin Garcia, Spencer Griffith, Raul Guerrero, Peter Kargbo, Christian Lopez, Rodney Michael, Jules Pasco, Chairat Puengrod, Brandon Sanchez, Joel Serugo, Musa Yansaneh and Jose Zepeda.

The team is coached by Rudy Ybarra, assisted by his son, Junior Ybarra, and Jesus Landeros.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

(US Youth Soccer video)

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