In what looks to be a strong and successful season, the Chula Vista Pumas Premier FC saw several teams bring home championship trophies or finalist medals over the Memorial Day weekend. From the Notts Forest Memorial Day Tournament to the Central California Blues’ first California Invitational Tournament the teams racked up the wins and accolades at multiple age levels. In addition, the club’s U-23 team opened their SoCal Premier Soccer League season on a very high note.
“Our CV Pumas Premier FC teams are off to a roaring start this year,” said CV Pumas Premier FC President Oscar Zamora. “We have won titles or have finished as Finalists in great Tournaments such as Barca, Nomads, Poway, Notts Forest, Central Cal and FC Sol in different age brackets. Also our new U-23 team started off with a solid victory in the inaugural SoCal Premier League. With seven Premier teams in Presidio League and two more in Coast League, we can expect this to be the year of the Puma.”
Coach Guy Boccia led his Girls U-9 team into competition at the annual Notts Forest Memorial Day Tournament to great results. The team went undefeated, beating SDSC by a 4-1 score and PYSL Blast 5-0 to earn the right to play for the championship. In the final game they matched up against SDFA and in a hard-fought game took a 4-3 win for the title.
‘This weekend the Pumas GU09 Team demonstrated what ‘Teamwork’ truly is,” said Coach Boccia afterwards. “The defense only allowed 4 goals overall. The team is rock solid with our three main fullbacks working together to stop the attack. Our fullbacks are the foundation and strength of the team. Offensively 13 goals were scored, distributed among girls coming off the bench fresh and hungry as well as the girls who started the halves. Tactically the girls’ defensive skills created the opportunities to place the ball into scoring position. A true team effort across the board by everyone!”
Moving north, Carlos Ugarte’s Boys U-13 team took on the field in the Poway Country Shootout Tournament. The competition was fierce, but the boys showed heart and character to come away with the trophy. The team started off strong, beating SD United Black by a 5-0 score, but then fell 1-2 to the Vaqueros Green side. On Sunday the Pumas regrouped and beat Vaqueros Black in a 4-0 game to earn a rematch with the Vaqueros Green team. In his tournament debut as a Puma, Miguel Torres scored a hat trick to lead the team to a 3-2 victory and the championship. Overall Torres netted five goals in the tournament.
Coach Salvador Blanco took his Boys U-15 Academy team even farther north, taking on the competition at the Central California Blues first annual California Invitational in Bakersfield. The team opened play with a 2-2 draw against Sereno 96 White, but then put together wins against Roadrunner United FC B95 (2-0) and Cal Oddysey SB95 (1-0) to reach the finals against a tough Diablo FC team. When it was over, though, the Pumas had a 2-0 victory and the trophy as they prepare for the Coast League Premier Division this fall.
Joining the U-15 Academy team at the California Invitational were Coach Hector Diaz’s Boys U-13 team. They boys opened their run with a 3-1 win against OUSL Crusaders B98 and followed that up with 2-1 wins over host Central California Blues and SB Odyssey SB98 to face off against Diablo FC 98 in the finals. After an exciting match Diablo came away with the 1-0 win, but the Pumas had no reason to hang their heads. Earlier in the tournament season they had won their level at the Barcelona Cup and had been finalists at the Nomads Tournament. It was a good preparation for this fall in the Presidio League Premier Division.
Finally, closer to home, in the Memorial Super Cup Tournament Coach Luis Hernandez took his Boys U-9 team into competition against some of the top regional teams. The Pumas easily handled FC Murietta Surf (4-0) and Oranje Votebal (3-0), but were unable to find the key against Aztecs FC. In bracket play the Pumas fell 1-2, but still earned the right to a rematch in the finals on the strength of their other wins. However, in that match Aztecs again had the Pumas’ number and took the championship in a 2-0 win.
Some of the most exciting news out of the Pumas club is the play of the Premier FC U-23 team in the new SoCal Premier Soccer League. The team joined the new US Club Soccer-affiliated league as a way of having high-level competition for college-age players. The league allows these players to continue to develop and train as they prepare for upcoming college seasons. Academy Director and Head Coach Jose Hector Diaz has high hopes for this team, and in their first match they did not disappoint.
Going into the June 2 match with National City Bandits U-23, Diaz knew that he had a strong side, but he could not have imagined just how strong. In a game that featured strong fundamental play, precise passing, teamwork and heart, the Pumas U-23 put on a “soccer concert” as they defeated the Bandits 14-0. Alejandro ‘Gazelo’ Lopez and Francisco Ramirez each scored four goals, Carlos Alberto Sanchez and Oscar Ortega had two each and Ulysses Cristerna and Esteban Saucedo each scored a single. In goal Miguel David earned his first clean sheet. The team will next see action on Friday, June 8, when they meet SoCal Elite at West Hills High School starting at 5:00 p.m.
“When you do things for the love of the game of soccer, you start realizing that the sky is the limit on what your soccer club can achieve,” said club president Zamora. “Following the vision that our Academy Director, Hector Diaz, had in how to improve our soccer club, we took the challenge to incorporate our venture into US Club Soccer so we can also offer another choice for our older players who had aged out or that simply want to keep in shape for their fall’s college seasons.”
“We decided to enter a couple of U-23 teams to the brand new SoCal Premier Soccer League,” Zamora continued. “Hector Diaz will coach the Chula Vista Premier FC team and our veteran and former Premier Coach, Sergio Villalva, will coach the San Diego Premier FC team. We are proud to now offer the chance to play soccer for our club from ages 3 to 22.”
At that first game the Pumas hosted a Chula Vista soccer hero, former Pumas player and current U.S. U-18 National Team midfielder Alejandro Guido. Recently Guido played with the U-18 team in the Lisboa 2012 Cup in Portugal, picking up an assist in the team’s 1-1 draw with Poland. Last season he played with the Xolos de Tijana U-20 team and recently began practicing with the first team in preparation for a friendly against America on June 30 at Qualcomm Stadium.
Academy Director Diaz, whose father Hector Diaz, Sr., began coaching Guido as a U-8 player, recalled the family’s connections. “My father, Hector Diaz, Sr, was looking for talent in Tijuana’s Romero Manzo field for his brand new U8 team. He found two players. One of them was Alejandro. Alejandro became a good friend of my brother Alberto and both of them made it to the U-15 U.S. National Team. Soccer was so important to them, that they will skip family reunions to go play soccer. Alejandro eventually made the U-17 [team] that played in World Cup in Germany. His goal in the qualifiers put the U.S. in that World Cup.”
Looking at the current crop of Pumas, Diaz sees several with the same characteristics that helped Guido reach his dreams. “There are three players that have a good chance to follow Guido’s steps in our U23 squad.” he added. “Alberto Diaz, Jaime Verdin and Oscar Ortega are also Alejandro’s age and all of them have been scouted by the U.S. National Team.”
CV Pumas Premier FC look forward to many exciting games and much success over the summer and into the fall season at all levels.