|LAFC brought championships back to the community November 26th from the elite Nike Harvest Cup Tournament in Irvine and the prestigious Nomads Thanksgiving Invitational Soccer Tournament in San Diego.
Coach Barry Ritson’s LAFC B10 and B12 owned these divisions of the Nike Harvest Cup by the end of the holiday weekend.
The B10 team racked up 20 goals while conceding 7 in their pursuit of the championship, winning 2-1 over Tango, 7-4 over Stampede Red, and 3-0 over Arsenal. They then headed into the semi-final where they convincingly beat the Fullerton Rangers 4-1. Enjoying that win, they celebrated the championship game with another 4-1 score, this time over the Force.
Sebastian Velasco wowed fans with an exceptional two goals from headers in the final, both on perfect crosses from Jeffrey “Q” Quezada. This was a break-out tournament for Yezid “Giggsy” Lopez who returned to his brilliant play and was the stand-out MVP of the tournament.
Coach Ritson’s B12 squad kept opponents at bay, outscoring them 22-6 in the tournament. Wins in flight play were not close: 4-2 over IE Strikers Black, 4-2 over Stampede and a 9-0 blow-out over Rovers.
The semi-final game provided more equal competition and resulted in a 2-0 win over the Hawks. The boys dug deeper for the championship contest and got the job done with a 4-2 win over the Santa Ana DSP Corinthians.
Exceptional performances were turned in by Matthew Laterza and Romario Lomeli who marshaled a brilliant defense throughout the tourney. Nicky Fraher and Fausto "Tato" Espinoza added great goals.
Manuel Perez stands out as MVP for the tourney for finishing off Santa Ana with a great goal.
Not to be outdone by their younger counterparts, the LAFC B14 Silver Elite team coached by Josh Henderson brought home the championship of the Nomads tournament.
Facing tough competition that included Gold teams, the boys fought to a 2-2 tie with Bay SC, a 5-0 victory over Impact Black (Utah), a 4-2 victory over Elk Grove United (Northern California), and a PK shootout win 3-1 over Slammers SC (Orange County). Facing a determined opponent in Marin FC Blue (Northern California), the LAFC team came out ahead 1-0—only to face the Marin team again in the championship game!
Teamwork earned the championship and included a save by defender Peter Chodas who headed a Marin shot out of the goal and the only goal in the game an LAFC winner from Junior Barrientos.
LAFC olders also scored big at the Harvest Cup and Nomads with the impressive run of LAFC G18 to the semi-finals at the Nike Cup and the LAFC B18 making the same run at the Nomads. These tournaments attracted top teams and showcased our college-bound players for the 200-300 college coaches who were attending.
Contributing to this article:
Monica Bagramyan, Barry Ritson and Marco Quezada