For three best friends and So Cal Select teammates, Paris, France will forever hold a special place in their hearts.
Santa Clarita Christian School girls soccer player Sydney Boswell along with Canyon High School’s Makenna Evans and Sierra McCormick and the So Cal Select girls soccer team returned home from Europe on July 19 as the champions of the U17 Paris World Games.
Departing for Europe on July 1, So Cal Select played a total of two friendlies and five tournament games in the U17 Paris World Games in Lyon and Paris, France as well as Lovran, Croatia.
Getting off to a rough start in the first friendly, So Cal Select quickly found out that chemistry would be key to winning the games. Faltering against a French team, So Cal Select suffered a 2-1 defeat, but regained their composure to come out stronger as a unit.
“We had only practiced with the team a couple of times so we were all a bit nervous and unsure of what to expect from this team, and they were pretty good,” Boswell said. “It was more of figuring out how we are going to improve from here on out to take to the Paris World Games.”
Learning from their mistakes, So Cal Select rebounded in a major way, shutting out a team from Connecticut 2-0 to close out the friendlies.
Focused with a united goal, So Cal Select took the first game of the U17 Paris World Games against a team from Spain 1-0. They ran into some trouble against a tough Washington Rush team and a team from Mexico in the following two games, but were able to come out on top in with 2-1 wins in both games to advance to the semifinals against a French team.
“We had a little bit of a rough start in the beginning, but we grew as a team, we started practicing more before the games and started getting more touches,” McCormick said. “We started connecting more as a team because of the friendlies.”
So Cal Select pulled out a 2-0 win in the semifinals with just one game standing in the way of the championship trophy.
The final came down to So Cal Select and a team from Spain. Going toe-to-toe with the team from Spain for the whole match, So Cal Select scored a late-game goal to win 1-0 and be crowned the 2019 U17 Paris World Games Champions.
“When we won the championship game a bunch of people ran out and started spraying champagne in the air and we got to throw the trophy up in front of the Eiffel Tower so that was pretty cool,” Evans said.
“Especially for me, the final game was amazing, because we got to play in front of the Eiffel Tower and when we won the tower lit up as we were celebrating,” Boswell said. That was truly breathtaking and was one of the highlights of the trip.”
Winning in dominant fashion, So Cal Select scored eight goals while only allowing two goals in five games on the way to the championship.
Starting the trip off with a loss, So Cal Select learned, adapted and was crowned champion.
“The competition this year pushed us to play harder because we haven’t played together, so just seeing each others’ strategies and game tactics was a little hard at first, but then we grew as a team and a unit,” Boswell said.