Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks GU18 Elite soccer team qualifies

Back row, L-R: Katie Dove, Gianna Montini, Hannah Keogh, Sam Staab, Ali Whiting, Kristen Cole, Riley Dixon, Lili Andino, Melissa Lowder. Front row: Coach Felica Kappes, Jordie Sanders, Zizi Komar, Natalie Saddic, Brooklyn Gonzalez, Dominique Diller, Crystal Cordova, Huli DeArmas, Shelby Lee, Adriana Gutierrez, Sydney Wootten.

The Del Mar-Carmel Valley Sharks girls under 18 Elite soccer team has qualified to represent Southern California for the third straight year in the U.S. Youth National Championships, which will be held July 21-26 in Tulsa, Okla.

Coach Felicia Kappes said she is thrilled to be taking her team to defend their back-to-back National Champion title. “I’m incredibly proud of our team. We came here in a bit of a hole. We dug a hole in North Carolina. We had to win three,” Kappes said. “We took it one game at a time, and now we actually get to defend our National Championship. We’re looking forward to going back and seeing what we can do.”

The National League schedule sent the team to North Carolina in November for four games, then to Las Vegas this past weekend for three games to crown a division champion and runner-up. The Sharks were 2-2 going to Vegas and needed to win all three games to secure one of the two spots. They got stronger as a team with each game and won 3-0 over YMS from Philadelphia, 4-1 over San Tan Legacy from Arizona, and 4-1 over Beach FC from Long Beach.