By Ryan Menzie
Signal Staff Writer
The Cinderella season has come to an end for the Legends soccer club, as they made it to the National Championship quarterfinals but came up short of qualifying for the semifinals in Sarasota, Florida.
Despite the tough loss and not being able to fulfill their final goal of the season, the team’s coach and players say they will have lasting memories competing as one of the top eight teams in the entire country.
The team making the National Championship marks the furthest any soccer team, boys or girls, of any age has made it from the Santa Clarita Valley. They faced stiff competition, as two of the four teams in their bracket made it to the final championship round, showing how tough their bracket truly was.
Legends head coach Adam Waddell has already started training for next season with his girls. Waddell hopes to make another strong push at the National Championship and show all the college coaches what the girls are made of in the next five years.
“From start to finish, it was a Cinderella story where the kids could not dream for more of a situation to get as far as they did,” said Waddell. “It’s the furthest any team has gone in Santa Clarita, to go to regionals and advance and extend their youth. I’m very proud. It’s been an amazing run. I couldn’t ask for more of a dynamic and cohesive group to get it together. A proud moment for them and our city as well.”
For Waddell’s young group, a majority have already planned on playing for Hart High School but all are planning to stay local. Three-year Legends member Gisele Saravia is among those planning to play for Hart, and said she is very proud of how the team performed and will cherish the memories of winning, laughing and crying together for the rest of her life.
“I think we’ve accomplished so much this season. I’m completely blessed to be on this team,” said Saravia. “For me, there’s always room for improvement. I worked really hard to be here. I trained for this and although we didn’t come out with a win, I think we did work hard and I think that I did my job out there.”
Julia Willis has been playing on the team for about five years and also plans to play for Hart next season. Willis feels overall she performed to the best of her ability and her team played well during the tournament.
“We started out strong. Our passing and talking has been amazing all over our formation,” said Willis. “Crossing the ball and getting it to open players worked the best for us instead of just kicking the ball wherever. If there is anything I will take with me going into high school, it would be hard work works.”
Mackenzie Wiese plans to play soccer her freshman year but will play for Castaic High School. Wiese felt they could’ve done better because they felt so nervous, but still feels they played up to their standards.
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot,” said Wiese. “However, I feel like my team and I have improved together and gotten more chemistry with each other throughout all the times we’ve played. For us to succeed, we need to keep fighting for everything we’ve worked for. Keep our heads up because this is still a great accomplishment to make it this far in nationals.”