Oregon, Europe, Arizona, Atlanta, and Lancaster, Calif.! The passport of travel for the Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks girls U15 Elite team over the last six months. An incredible ride for a group of dedicated 14 and 15-year-old girls, presently ranked #1 in the nation.
The journey began in Oregon at the Manchester United Premier Cup U.S. Finals over Memorial Day weekend. A prestigious tournament hosted by Nike. Their win qualified the girls for a trip to Sweden to play in the Youth World Cup in July. The Gothia Cup was a week-long experience that all 16 team members will never forget, enjoying different foods, cultures and international competition.
Once back in the U.S., the summer and fall soccer season found the girls back in top form playing in the finals of the West Coast Futbol Classic, an undefeated season in the Presidio GU19 Premiere 1 league and an incredible showing in the Far West Regional League. The winner, the team with the most points after the three games, would earn a berth into the 2012 FW Regional’s in Phoenix, Ariz. The Sharks tied for first place with MVLA, then ranked #1 in the nation, from N. CA for points (they tied head to head); however, MVLA won on goal differential.
Next stop was the Surf Thanksgiving Tournament in San Diego. The finals at the Polo fields were a rematch of the previous weekend MVLA and DMCV! It was the sixth game in three days and one to remember as Sharks scored quickly and never let the pressure down on this quick MVLA team. The Sharks won the game 2-0. Scoring totals for the tournament 15 goals and giving up only 3.
Atlanta, Ga., for the NCAA Final Four for D1 college soccer was the last stop on this journey. The team traveled to Kennesaw State University to play three games in the college showcase for college coaches. Two early morning games gave the girls a taste of winter soccer with frost on the ground at 8 a.m. against a NC team and playing under the lights for the 7:15 a.m. against an Ohio team. The Sharks played well against all three teams with 3 wins and one goal scored against them. The college games were impressive as the top four soccer teams battled for the championship. Way to go Stanford!
On Christmas Day, the team woke to find their dedication and soccer skill was rewarded. Gotsoccer.com National rankings came out – Del Mar Sharks Elite is #1 in the nation! Coach Felicia Kappes beams at hearing this news. “The one thing that sticks out in my head is that the girls competed at a very high and consistent level of play for six months that culminated with an incredible run the last four weeks. Not only did we compete, we seemed to get stronger as we went along, definitely the case in the last four weeks. They were rewarded with a couple of championships and a new ranking! All their hard work through out the year paid off and they bonded on an even deeper level on and off the field because of all their wonderful experiences together.”
This special Sharks team will enjoy this ranking as they play high school soccer at their respective schools. They look forward to reuniting and continuing to build on their 2011 experiences and growth as young ladies and soccer players in 2012.