Masters on the Field

A team of lucky soccer players has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to represent their country in the Junior Masters World Tournament in Rome, Italy. The SoCal United BU12 team first qualified for regionals in San Francisco last year, leading up to the Volkswagon Junior Masters Nationals in Kansas City in the summer. “We went to Kansas City more with the hopes of having a great experience at such a prestigious event,” said Head Coach Jim Flowers. “We were not able to train together as much as other teams were able to.” Despite that disadvantage, SoCal United rose up in the ranks over the rival teams, who hailed from Los Angeles to Baltimore in five “extremely tough games.” Coach Flowers cites the team’s offensive strength and “attack-minded formation” as a key to their victories.

When asked about the teams they might be facing in the Junior Masters World Tournament, Coach Flowers listed youth teams from professional clubs in Europe, “including Ajax (Holland), AC Chievo (Italy), Lech Poznan (Poland), FC Basel (Switzerland), Sturm Graz (Austria), Besiktas (Turkey), and Hertha Berlin (Germany) just to name a few.” Twenty-four countries are being represented in all at the tournament.

But the boys aren’t letting any intimidation cut through their bond as a team. “Most of these kids have been adversaries over the years on their local club teams, so sometimes you worry that there may be an issue with that,” said Coach Flowers. “Instead, they almost instantly connected as a team and in my opinion is probably their biggest strength.” The team heads to Rome on May 3, and the tournament runs from May 7 through 12.

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