After working with most players for upwards of four years, Guilherme Mitrovitch knew his Real So Cal – SCV G01 White Mitrovitch U16 club soccer team was due for some success.
After a trip to the finals of the National Cup on Sunday in Temecula, his inkling proved true.
“For the last two years, they played really, really good competition, so they got beat, they beat people,” said Mitrovitch, “… I’ve been around this group for quite a bit, I think that helped them to prepare. It put them through a lot of battles.”
The tournament began in April and provided challenges for Real So Cal from the beginning. In pool play, the team beat LA Galaxy SB 4-2, then tied their following two opponents to advance to the Round of 16.
They then beat RSC DPL 02, a team that had beaten Real So Cal in the California Regional League (CRL), 1-0. After a 3-1 victory over Legends FC West, the Santa Clarita Valley club team was headed to the semifinals.
“I really think it starts from a defense perspective, setting the tone and pressuring those good teams that we play against and make them play the game they don’t want to play,” Mitrovitch said of his team’s tourney performance.
Real So Cal faced Legends Academy II, the first-place team in CRL. The team worked its way to a tie by halftime, then Legends scored on a penalty kick. Real So Cal tied it once again with five minutes left, forcing overtime.
Goalkeeper Alani Mexia made a save on a PK in overtime to send the game to PKs. Real So Cal walked away with a 5-4 win.
Real So Cal, which is comprised mainly of girls from the SCV, immediately had to rest up and prepare for the finals against Westside Breakers.
“Usually our coach tells us to eat carbs, take ice baths. That stuff kind of helps, but it’s more of a mentality,” said forward Ruby Burroughs. “If you’re tired, you have to push through it and tell yourself it’s just one game a day. So it’s more a mentality over physicality.”
The confident SCV team allowed one goal in the first half, but were able to tie the game with 10 minutes to go on a goal from Mialani Noble.
But with two minutes left in the game, Westside Breakers scored to cut all hopes of a win.
“We told each other just treat it like a normal game,” Burroughs, who also plays for Hart during the prep soccer season, said. “When we got scored on, it was kind of depressing. We thought we were going to come out and win, but my team didn’t give up.”
Although Real So Cal didn’t win the title, each player was exposed to a plethora of college coaches who were in attendance for the tournament. They also were given the opportunity to fine-tune their game ahead of the prep girls soccer season.
“We had such a great run and everyone on my team put 150 percent into the game and we tried our hardest throughout the whole thing,” Burroughs said. “… The teams that we played were higher ranked than us. We went into every game looking at every opponent equal to us.”
Real So Cal will next be competing in the Manchester City Showcase in Oceanside this weekend, then the Legends Showcase in Norco the weekend after.