The San Clemente City Council sent off 10 stellar youth soccer players to the next chapter of their 2022-2023 season with cheers and a warm recognition at its meeting on Tuesday night, March 7.
Gianna Alva, Marlowe Conlan, Sadie Henry, Soleil Jerome, Evelyn Koch, Charlotte Lee, Emelie Mulcahy, Sedona Oliveros, Kaylani Rodriguez and Sienna Roland received plaques for their efforts as part of the city’s Under-10 Girls All Stars team.
Competing in the American Youth Soccer Organization’s (AYSO) Region 111 (San Clemente), the 8- and 9-year-olds were selected in December 2022 and will compete in the Western States Championship playoffs on Sunday, March 12.
Mayor Chris Duncan embraced his role as the head of the council in taking the lead to speak about the children.
“I just want to commend you young ladies for all of your success in soccer this year,” Duncan said on Tuesday. “It’s really an achievement that makes all of us proud in San Clemente—all that effort, all that extra effort you did.”
He also spoke about the adversity they persevered through, and again congratulated the athletes.
Councilmember Victor Cabral encouraged the girls to follow in the footsteps of older local athletes, notably the three San Clemente natives on the University of California, Los Angeles women’s soccer team whom the council honored in January after winning the 2022 NCAA Division I National Championship.
“We’re expecting a lot out of you,” Cabral said to a room of laughter.
Brian Lee, AYSO Region 111 Girls Soccer commissioner and team head coach, took the audience through the athletes’ journey up to the upcoming weekend.
“We had a task at hand to find the best of the best for this age group, to build an All-Star team to represent not only San Clemente, but South Orange County, Southern California, and the Western States,” said Lee.
Back in November, Region 111 officials began their selection process that would eventually comprise more than 100 athletes before finding the top 10% to make up the team.
They first competed at the 16-team AYSO Area 11L (South Orange County) Tournament in mid-January, winning five games and tying once to capture the tournament title.
Next, the All-Stars faced teams from Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties during the Section 11 All-Star Championships, beating three before falling in the final match to Long Beach on penalty kicks.
“Because of how hard they worked, the sectional officials watched these girls play (and) it made a very, very tough decision,” Lee said, adding, “They sent us, as a wild card, to Western States.”
Before they began their travels, however, the team received an encouraging message from Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion Mia Hamm.
On Sunday in Moorpark, the San Clemente team will face a squad from Section 10, a region that spans across Malibu east to San Bernadino County and up to Fresno, to determine whether they will play in the Western States Championship later that afternoon.
Discussion about this post