Just a year ago, there was a strong possibility that the Futbol Foundation of Santa Clarita’s girls GO7 under 12 team would no longer exist, as the former head coach and several players left unexpectedly.
However, Adam Waddell stepped in to take over head coaching duties, and the remaining players stuck it out and continued to train together.
Less than a year later, FFSC’s GO7 team defeated the Apple Valley Storm 3-2 to capture the Cal South Governors State Cup in thrilling fashion March 3.
FFSC was able to navigate through the month-long tournament featuring 70 teams, going 8-0-0 and outscoring its opponents 31-5 to secure the championship, the first ever in FFSC history.
“We were up 2-0 that whole match and the other team tied it with about a minute left in regulation. They had momentum going, but we battled and left it all on the field,” Waddell said. “They played with their hearts. They really worked hard and achieved their goal.”
FFSC scored with less than a minute left, as Gianna Costello executed a precise corner kick, finding the foot of Isabella Bruno, who found the back of the net.
With all the adversity the team faced, including playing in difficult weather, adjusting to different fields and facing disbandment nearly a year ago, it was a remarkable finish that no one could have predicted.
“I think it’s pretty much a storybook ending. You can’t write it like that, for it to come true at the end of the game,” Waddell said. “There were a lot of things that were thrown in front of them that you would think would give them a disadvantage, but they showed poise and composure.”
Before the title game, FFSC faced another challenge in the semifinals, with that match also going to double overtime. They were able to score with just minutes remaining to secure the victory in the semifinals.
FFSC has played close to 100 games this season including a 33-game winning streak, capturing the Silver North Division in the Coast Soccer League.
The Cal South Cup is only the beginning, as the team will continue to play in several more tournaments this year. The success this year also led to promotion, as they will move the Silver Elite Division starting in the fall.
“The have about 11 more tournaments until August, and so far, we’ve played close to 100 games this season. It’s a very competitive team,” Waddell said. “They train three times a week, they play games on the weekends. I coach one more team and I’ve had some really high level teams, but this team I think has to be one of the best teams I’ve ever had.”
The squad will also play in the Cal South National Cup in 2020, which highlights the best teams in the region.
Waddell believes that his players are just scratching the surface of their abilities and the future is bright for the young squad. He thinks many of his players will continue on to play at a high level.
Whatever the future may hold for the girls, the remarkable run to the 2019 Cal South State Cup will be something they never forget.
“It was nice to see all the kids the smiles and see their dreams come true. All their hard work paid off, “Waddell said. “It made memories for a lifetime for those girls.”