SDSC’s Emphasis on Youngers’ Development Reaps Rewards
San Diego Soccer Club’s youngers’ program took a step forward yesterday when the under 8 boys team coached by Jim Flowers won State Cup. “This is the first boys team at SDSC to win State Cup,” Flowers said. A few years ago San Diego Soccer Club made the explicit decision to focus on youngers’ development. “As a club we felt it was important to have talented coaches at our very young age groups and that is why we see coaches like Jim Flowers, Mark Connelly, Leo Connell, Haydn Mitchell and John Napier provide the basis for the future by coaching these younger teams,” stated Director of Coaching, Brian Quinn.
The road to the finals began three weeks ago with this team of nine talented young boys and a coach whose love for the game is infectious. During the first round of play SDSC easily handled three teams, scoring sixteen total goals while only giving up one. After winning in both the round of 32 and 16 it was in the quarterfinals that the boys met their greatest challenge. “The defining game was the quarterfinal game against Legends. We have been two of the best teams this year,” said Coach Jim Flowers. “We beat them in Albion Cup, they beat us for United Cup. In this game we scored in the last minute to win 2-1.”
Elated with the win against Legends the squad looked toward the semi-finals the same afternoon versus SAFC Lightning. Once again, SDSC came out on top with a score of 2-1. Then, yesterday, at Silverlakes Soccer Complex in Norco, California, Coach Flowers and his dynamic team stormed the field to play in the Championship game. Faced with the challenge of playing an under nine team from LAUFA, Jim and the boys knew they had their work cut out for them. In the end this adaptable group of players were victorious winning the game with a final score of 4-1. After celebrating the win Coach Flowers had this to say, “We probably move the ball better than any other team our age. We take goal kicks by playing out of the back until the other team surrounds our box. We try very hard to play above our years, and I think is shows on the field. Kids are able to pick these things up better than I think people give them credit for at this young age. I think part of what is important is these kids are soccer crazy kids, they want to play all of the time. At our ceremony after the championship they were asking when we have our next tournament.”
While a historic and thrilling time for the club, the focus remains steadfast on the goal of youngers’ development. Director of Coaching Brian Quinn stated, “Winning State Cup at U9 is a baby step in the big picture of player development. We recognize this at San Diego Soccer Club. We are thrilled that boys of this age are so technically sound and capable of playing the game with such joy and excitement. I am proud of what Coach Flowers and the team have achieved and look forward to this age group continuing to represent San Diego Soccer Club both locally and regionally.”