This past Sunday, in Sacramento at Columnes Junior College and in a near-100 degree heat, the 1998 San Francisco Elite Academy Boys claimed our program's first state championship by winning the U19 NorCal State Cup gold title against Diablo FC.
The 1998 Boys started the match slow, eventually allowing a Diablo FC goal that led to a 0-1 deficit within 15 minutes. Shortly thereafter, the 1998 Boys gained their rhythm and began to dominate the remainder of the first half. And, importantly, the SFEA boys were able to equalize in the 28th minute on a goal by Toshi Hensley.
After the halftime break and a few tactical adjustments from SFEA coach Tom Atencio, the 1998 Boys dominated both possession and shots, yet after 45 more minutes of play had no goals to show for it. The subsequent two, five-minute overtime periods saw both teams creating opportunities but still no goal to end the game.
The game would be decided with penalty kicks with SFEA shooting first. SFEA's Joey Galvez, Hermino Umanzor, and Greyson Gebhard Young all scored their kicks, respectively. And while Diablo FC had answered with two successful penalties of their own, on their third kick SFEA 1998 Boys goalkeeper Parker Whitcomb saved. After SFEA's Shayan Charlaghi scored to make the penalty kicks 4-2, in favor or SFEA, Parker came up big again, making yet another save and insuring the victory for the 1998 boys team.
The entire SF Elite Academy would like to congratulate the 1998 Boys and head coach Tom Atencio on this tremendous accomplishment!
Last weekend in Davis, the SF Elite Academy 98 Boys NPL team had a very good game in the semis finals of the Norcal State Cup's gold bracket against Clovis Crossfire 98 Blue.
Joey Galvez got the team going with two goals in the first 10 minutes. Greyson Young followed in the 21st minute to push SFEA's command of the match to 3-0. While Clovis scored a goal just before halftime to make the score 3-1, SFEA came out fast in the second half and created many scoring opportunities, which didn't lead to a goal but kept Clovis on the back foot. Finally, in the 89th minute, Clovis scored on a corner kick but the referee blew the final whistle shortly after and the SFEA 98 Boys were on to the final.
Tomorrow, at Cosumnes River College, just south of Sacramento, the SFEA 1998 Boys will be playing for our program's first State Cup winner's trophy. We will let everyone know how the match turns out and we wish the team and head coach, Tom Atencio, the best of luck!
"In the Player's Words" is an opportunity for players on our 2004 Boys US Soccer Development Academy team, our youngest team, to practice reporting, writing and editing skills, and see their own match recaps published on the SFEA website and share on social media.
SFEA 2004 USSDA Boys vs. Star Academy
1st Team Game - 2-1 Win
In the first 5 minutes of the game, SF Elite came out with very high intensity and wanted the win. On a free kick, Jake Moreno crossed a ball into the box, Dash Dallaire passed it to Yanis Zaim and he scored. Later in the half, the Star Academy forward won the ball off a back pass and scored their goal. Then Sf Elite had lots off chances but couldn't finish them. Early in the second half, SF Elite got their second goal. The Star Academy goalie passed the ball right to Yanis Zaim who was standing right in front of the goal and he finished it. After that the game remained scoreless and SF Elite won 2-1.
—written by SFEA US Development Academy Player, Dash Dallaire
SFEA 2004 USSDA Boys vs. Star Academy
2nd Team Game - 1-1 Tie
On Saturday the 13th of May, SF Elite played against Star Academy. In game two, both teams were evenly matched. The score remained 0-0 throughout the first half, but in the second half Star Academy managed to get the ball in the back of the net. Minutes later SF Elite was awarded a free kick, and Russell Tan stepped up to take the shot. The ball was shot with power, deflected off of one of the players in the wall, and went into the goal. The score was tied at 1-1 and although there were some other close calls, the game ended that way.
—written by SFEA US Development Academy Player, Matias Gersberg
On Sunday, the SF Elite Academy 2002 Boys traveled to the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park for what would be the decisive match in the NPL 1 spring season. The SFEA 2002 Boys entered the match in second place and needed a win to secure the NPL1 title as then first-place Monarcas 02 Boys had already played their final match and held a two-point edge. In addition, Santa Clara Sporting 2002 Boys Green were just one point behind Elite in third, but also with a game in hand, meaning Sunday's hosts needed a win or tie to be in the driver's seat to claim the title themselves.
Played in perfect weather on the pristine grass field at the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park, both teams served up a great display of soccer. Early on, Santa Clara appeared dangerous in the counter attack and nearly capitalized on several corner kicks using routines they had obviously worked on in training. SFEA first-half keeper Nicolas Galleno was forced into several big saves.
By the end of the half, however, SF Elite was getting the ball into the corners with numbers crashing into the Santa Clara box, which led to multiple golden chances, including a shot just over the post from wing Ellis Brenneman. The first half also saw an audacious outside of the foot chip shot by SFEA forward Aidan Hyde that just struck the wrong side of the left post.
While the half ended 0-0, early in the second SF Elite kept working the ball forward on a foundation of defensive pressure and decisive ball winning, especially from holding midfielder Reid Pollino. The break through finally came when midfielder Owen Flanagan, scored on a knuckling free kick that found the upper left net, untouched, from a strike of around 25 yards.
The goal spurred Santa Clara into action and soon the game opened up with quick counter attacks both directions. SF Elite was frustrated by what appeared a penalty only resulted in a free kick on the top of the box and a subsequent blocked try on goal. And then the increased pressure finally paid off for Santa Clara when SF Elite failed to build out of a corner clearance. A terrific one-on-one play deep in the box from a Santa Clara player led to a slotted goal from a tight angle, and the game was tied 1-1.
From there, both teams looked like possible winners. Santa Clara had several end-to-end chances but great center back play from SFEA's Thibault Jamey and Declan Pantankar (and supported by second-half keeper Alex Lopez) kept the score even. Then, with just a few minutes to play, William Murray, who had been moved into central striker from his normal left back position, broke onto a long pass to get in on goal. With a defender leaning into him from behind, William managed to punch the ball between the keepers legs and recover his balance in time to smash the ball into an empty net. A huge celebration erupted on the SF Elite sideline which led to a referee warning, and the last few minutes saw SF Elite defending a couple dangerous corners until the final whistle was blown.
Head coach Mauricio Diaz De Leon was delighted with the win, and he credited the moment meeting the team's growth at just the right time, saying, "It was the perfect day for soccer. Mother's Day, on an excellent pitch, with the chance to win something. This whole season we've talked about consistency and executing the simple things. Before the match started, I told them regardless of what happens, we're in this together. I couldn't be more proud of their response. The boys embraced the challenge and competed until the last minute. They played and fought together as one. It was great to see the smiles on their faces after the win. The team worked hard and earned every bit of the celebration. "
The 2-1 win pushed the SF Elite Academy 2002 Boys to a 5-1-1 league season and an unassailable position at the top of the NPL 1 table. And, remarkably, it marks the team's second league championship in a row as the SF Elite Academy 2002 Boys also won NPL 2 in the fall of 2016. The entire SF Elite Academy staff congratulates the team and Mauricio, and looks forward to more achievements ahead.
all photos courtesy of John Murray, rights reserved
The Academy would like to congratulate the 1998 Boys NPL, 2000 Boys NPL, and 2001 Boys NPL teams for reaching the semi-final round of this year's NorCal State Cup in the second highest division of play (Gold Cup for the 1998 and 2000s and Premier Cup for 2001s). Each of the three boys teams posted impressive quarter final wins, and will return this weekend to try to punch their place in the final!
You may take a look at the brackets here:
U19 Boys Gold Level
U17 Boys Gold Level
U16 Boys Gold Level
Good luck to all three teams and we will update the results this weekend.
The SF Elite Academy
Our mission is to provide an elite level program for soccer players in San Francisco.