Players 94 Boys: History in the Making
Submitted by Cornelio Valencia, Parent
July 24, 2012
Players 94 Boys, under Coach Saeed Bonabian, have been together for ten years, winning seven out of eight state cups. The team recently made history, winning the Region IV Championship, as the only team in their state to ever win a regional championship. Players are motivated to bring home a National Championship.
AZ 95 Sereno Boys: Arizona teams goes from 6th in the State to 6th in the Nation
Submitted by Riley Fitzgerald, Player
July 26, 2012
Our team began the road to nationals four years ago. I became a member of the AZ 95 Sereno Boys Soccer team in 2008-2009. The team had been through some major changes and was basically a new team with a new coach. Our first year together was definitely a rebuilding year as we went through three coaches with a small team of 17 players. We weren't the most desired team to play for, but we all became friends and worked hard together. At the end of our season, we were ranked sixth in the State of Arizona.
Our second year together, we were starting to gel and had a great new coach, Davie Robertson, DOC of Sereno Soccer Club. We also added a couple of new players and started to win some smaller tournaments. The 95 White Boys team started to earn some respect amongst other teams and was considered a worthy opponent. By the end of our second year together we surprised everyone and placed second in the Arizona State Cup. We felt like we were a strong team with potential.
In 2010, Coach Robertson saw the same players stay together and began building a quality team. We all knew each other well and trusted each other on the field. We were still a small team, but what we lacked in size we made up for in heart. No one expected our team to win the Arizona State Cup but win it we did! We beat our arch rivals and ended up playing the 2010 reigning State Cup Champions from Tucson, Arizona. The game was 0-0 in the last two minutes of the game and we scored! We ended up winning 1-0 and headed to the Far West Regionals in Boise Idaho. Our team had only 15 players able to play at Regionals due to injuries…things didn't go much better as we played. We did not qualify for quarter finals and went home pretty beat up.
The history of our team brings us to 2011-2012 season, with a new coach, Brian O'Donnel. He added five strong players to the roster because he understood we needed more players to take us to the next level. Our goal was to play in the big tournaments and do well. Right off the bat, I knew we had a great team, but with every new team there is a rough beginning. We had some close tournaments that we almost won and felt like we should have, especially in the Sereno Pro Classic. When November rolled around we went to the Surf Cup in California and made it to the finals to play The Blues 95 … who at the time were ranked #1 in the Nation. Our team came in a disappointing second and we all came back to Arizona to play high school soccer. When we came back from our break with high school soccer things started to click and right off we won the Presidents Day Tournament in Phoenix. Arizona State Cup begins and we knew the competition was fierce. It came down to our arch rivals SC Del Sol, who had won the Regional League and had earned a spot in the Far West Regional Tournament. The game was extremely competitive and we fought until the end when we scored the final goal to make us the Arizona State Champions, again!
It was very exciting for Arizona to host the Far West Regional Tournament. The summer months were going to be an advantage for our team because we were more accustomed to the severe heat. We played mostly late in the evenings and played Honolulu Bulls (8-1), NM Rush (1-0), and CO Storm (3-2). They were strong competitors and we were excited to make it to the quarter finals where we played Washington's Eastside FC 94. This was our toughest game and we finished winning 1-0. In the semi finals we played Idaho's Boise Nationals and won 2-3 which put us in the finals. The final game was incredible. We played California's Mt Hamilton PAC Tigres and knew it was going to take everything we had to win. It was an intense game and seemed every time we would make a goal they would turn around a match it minutes later. With a few minutes to go, up by one goal, they tied the game. We went into double OT and then into a shootout. I actually felt better because I knew we had the best goalie in Kian Johnson who was awesome at stopping penalty kicks. It took three saves from Kian to win us our first Regional Championship! No one expected us to go this far except our coach, our team, and our families. We were one of 28 Arizona teams to go to FWRL tournament, but the only team to win a championship. We have had a long road to the 2012 National Tournament that started back in 2009 with the seven original players on our 2012 team. This is an exciting time in our lives and we will enjoy every moment representing Arizona in the 2012 National Championship games.