The Saugus AYSO Region 46 G10U All Star team, the Title Waves, had as long a season as possible.
After finishing their core season with their original AYSO teams in the fall of 2022, all-stars were selected to represent the Saugus area and be led by longtime youth soccer coach Roger Schnurr.
From their formation, the Title Waves went on to make noise at the area playoffs, sectional championships, Western State Championships and at the AYSO National Games in August. The Title Waves players were together for nearly a whole year of play and dominated teams from all over the country.
Schnurr has coached numerous all-star teams but knew from the beginning that his Waves could be something special.
“When this team was formed in November, I knew that it had the potential to do great things,” Schnurr said. “The team lived up to its ‘Title Waves’ name.”
The team was formed in mid-November 2022, but struggled to find time to get on the field and practice together due to the Thanksgiving break and players finishing their regular-season games. Then when the team finally planned on taking the field together, the Hi-5 Tournament in Fountain Valley was rained out and canceled.
Schnurr knew his team was loaded with talent and was aching to see them in action on the field. It took time for the team to acclimate to one another but the coach knew his talented players could play with anyone.
“It probably took us a couple of weeks before they started feeling comfortable with each other,” Schnurr said. “But once that happened everything went in the right direction.”
Despite the lack of time together, the Title Waves crashed onto the scene at the area playoffs. The team went undefeated against all-star teams from all over the Santa Clarita Valley, and exited the area playoffs with 34 goals scored to none conceded.
Schnurr’s back line and goalkeepers Sophia Pico, Kayla Pous and Isabel Marino were impenetrable, while the team’s passing led to the near-three-dozen scores. Forward Ava Isaak- was typically the Wave punching in scores as she finished her core AYSO season with 56 goals. Makayla Uribe impressed Schnurr all year with her athleticism and registered 28 goals before the National Games.
The Title Waves advanced to the Section 10 All-Star Championships in Bakersfield, which featured the best of the best of over 60,000 players.
The head coach had taken a team to Bakersfield seven times before, but the Title Waves would be his first squad to emerge as champions. The Waves scored 19 goals in three pool-play games to advance to the Final Four, where they were met with some tough teams.
Schnurr’s team ended regulation of its semifinals match with the Lompoc All-Stars tied 1-1, which led to immediate penalty kicks.
The Title Waves won the nailbiter, going six shooters deep to advance to the finals. Pico was sensational for the team and forced multiple stops to power her team to victory. The Waves fought in a chippy finals game but got back to their high-scoring ways, winning 4-2.
The win advanced the Waves to the Western State Championships, featuring top teams from Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California.
The Waves didn’t show any signs of being flustered that they’d be playing the best teams on the entire West Coast. The team started off with a bang and hammered the San Clemente All-Stars 6-1 to advance to the championship match. If anything, the Waves coach was the nervous one.
“Before the start of some of the tournaments, some said they were nervous especially if it was the championship game,” Schnurr said. “If they were nervous, I’d say, ‘Listen, just do what you’ve been doing. Go out there, play your game. We’re gonna have fun and you know you’re gonna do well.’ There wasn’t a lot of that, fortunately. I was probably more nervous than they were.”
The Title Waves took their first shutout loss together after a 4-0 defeat from the Region 18 Manhattan/Hermosa Beach All-Stars. Schnurr saw his team play unbelievable soccer and took in the experience for what it was, a great achievement. However, the fun wasn’t over yet.
Schnurr then got word that his team was picked via lottery to compete in the AYSO National Games in Irvine, extending the Waves’ season yet again.
The Title Waves once again could not be scored on in pool play. The team played seven of the best teams in the country, and outscored them all by a total of 32-0. The perfect start to pool play earned the team the highest point total of any of the four groups at the National Games.
Schnurr’s defense again registered a clean sheet against the La Quinta All-Stars in the semifinals match, but were also held scoreless. The Waves headed into a long eight-deep PK battle for a shot at the championship game but just fell short.
The Waves faced the Santa Barbara All-Stars in the third-place game but were taken down 3-2.
Schnurr was beyond proud of his team, who in nine National Games matches scored 34 goals, conceded three goals, and finished one penalty kick away from a shot at the national championship match.
For the Waves coach, it was a team he’ll never forget.
“This is one of the two best 10U teams I’ve ever coached beyond a doubt,” Schnurr said. “It’s kind of hard to compare them because it’s a little apples to oranges.”
During the National Games, teams would trade and collect pins from different regions. Schnurr’s kids had a great time exchanging pins with their opponents. The Waves were especially elated to trade for pins from Hawaii.
Schnurr’s job was made even easier with the team being eager to play numerous positions on top of being so talented.
The coach says it’s difficult to find players who will move to the backline and away from the offensive side of the ball but commended Uribe for her willingness to play anywhere, and let her teammates shine up the field.
Uribe finished the all-star season with over 28 goals. The defense held its own, only allowing 12 goals against, with numerous talented defenders showcasing their skill. The group was led by center back Delilah Roach and goalkeepers Kayla Pous, Isabel Marino and Pico.
Schnurr also praised Ava Isaak, Juhitha Mohanraj, Alexis Tucker and Everly Krell for their ability to impact the game anywhere on the field.
“They showed their versatility by playing multiple positions and making key plays throughout the season,” Schnurr said.
The Title Waves have since returned to new AYSO core teams in their age groups. Schnurr, a veteran 10U coach, has also started up with a new core team and will be in search of the next wave of Saugus All-Stars. The coach spoke on the explosion of soccer in the SCV, especially on the women’s side.
“You’ve got core AYSO, All-Star AYSO, United AYSO and however many club teams are out here,” Schnurr said. “So certainly soccer and especially with the women’s national team doing so well over the last several years has thrived especially on the girls’ side of the sport. It’s caused them to keep interest in it. I don’t see soccer diminishing out here.”
Schnurr will stay in touch with his Waves and hope to see them continue on in their athletic careers. His all-stars showcased a strong work ethic and willingness to work together all season, so if they ever choose a path off the pitch, Schnurr knows his Title Waves will succeed.
“They can do whatever and they’re going to excel,” Schnurr said of each member of his team. “These kids have a bright future, every single one of them. Whatever they want to do, they’re going to succeed.”