Nobody believes in themselves more than the Turlock Tornadoes U13 girls’ soccer team and no head coach has more confidence in his team like Richard Sotomayor.
The Tornadoes are coming off back-to-back tournament championship titles. In the Roseville Tournament, the Tornadoes ended the day at the top of the standings by a point system. This was followed by a victory in the Walnut Creek Cup where the Tornadoes bested Ethos FC in the Championship game, 1-0.
“It comes down to the players,” said Sotomayor. “They believe in themselves and their teammates. These young ladies know it’s ok to be tough and expect the best performance from their teammates. They expect to win; emotionally they are on a higher level.”
Over the course of eight games in the past two tournaments, the Tornadoes have not lost a single game. They have also outscored their opponents 20-5 during that span, including four clean sheets.
“I’ve seen them beat more talented teams on sheer determination, and believing they can win,” Sotomayor said of his team. “We have talented players and we have players who push their teammates to another level through their own actions.”
In Roseville, the squad was able to amass two shutout wins before solidifying a 2-1 victory against El Dorado Hills. In the final contest against Prospector SC the sides split the tie, giving the Tornadoes the edge after accumulating the points.
At Walnut Creek, the Tornadoes came out and had a stalemate in the first contest against the Mustang Galaxy, where Brooke Rose eventually notched a goal to end the contest in a tie.
“Brooke’s goal on day one in Walnut Creek kept us in the tournament. Without that goal I don’t think we’d be in the championship,” said Sotomayor.
Also assisting the team on defense was the back-line and goalkeeper Morgan Blankenship, who played every minute of every game.
The back four consisted of Sidney Cantwell, Audra Beck, Emma Borrelli and Genesis Maciel.
“They know what they can control and what they can’t,” said Sotomayor. “If the fields are bad they know that is uncontrollable and what they can control are their touches. There is no complaining about referees, fields, weather, or other teams, those are the uncontrollable aspects of our game.”
The first game was followed by a 5-1 victory over Livermore Fusion and then in day two, the team notched a 2-2 draw with Lamorinda SC before meeting Ethos FC in the grand finale.
With a 0-0 game at the half, the team took advantage of its early opportunities in the opening minutes of the second half after Marina Coronado put a ball in the box and Landyn Mills, the teams' leading scorer (11), jumped on it and finished the score.
After that the defense did its duty as a defying unit.
“Our back four and keeper were determined to not let anything go by,” Sotomayor said of his defense. “Sidney stopped one goal by sacrificing her body and taking a line drive to the mid-section. Both weekends those young ladies did an outstanding job. They came up big when their team needed them.”
Next for the U13 Tornadoes will be the fall league and a couple of undetermined tournaments.
“Some of our players are looking into the Olympic Development Program thanks to Turlock Youth Soccer Association. The club has been real supportive of our team and offers a great competitive program for Turlock,” Sotomayor added.