California State University, Stanislaus men’s soccer head coach, Dana Taylor, has been all over the northern California region lately but this time with the San Jose Earthquakes East Valley U14 soccer team who competes in the Nor Cal League.
The U14 team, which is made up primarily of local talent, with the exception of two players, is now ranked number one in the nation out of 3,850 teams after winning the most prestigious championship—the Surf Cup.
“Our goal is to develop these young men technically speaking. Winning is a natural byproduct of their hard work and skill,” said Taylor. “These young men work so hard at practice and have such desire to daily get better.”
The young club who practices three times a week and plays on the weekends had been formed 15 months ago according to Taylor and since then has flourished under the collegiate coach.
“It is about deep practice and ignition,” said Taylor. “Everything we do is at pace, we practice at a pace that is much faster than the actual game is played. It is about technical repetition, but the key ingredient is the pace in which they have to execute their skill set over and over again.”
Taylor’s squad had recently won the Surf Cup tournament in San Diego and since then also pulled out a first place result in the 2014 Sporting Invitational which undoubtedly launched them into first place.
“The Surf Cup tournament is a nationally recognized premier tournament, rated among the top two in the United States,” Taylor said.
Out of the several hundred teams that apply each year, only 16 to 20 teams from each age bracket/gender are accepted.
The U14 bracket was made up of teams from Northern and Southern California, Washington, Chicago, Hawaii, Canada and also Mexico.
Coach Taylor had his boys mentally and physically prepared for what turned into a six game winning streak.
Their skill was shown in the bracket stage with three wins over teams from San Diego, Washington, and Mexico.
This was followed by a matchup with local rival Santa Clara Sporting team in the quarterfinal which was no easy task but the Oakdale based team defeated them 3 to 2 heading into the semifinal.
Monday morning brought a semi final match against another team from northern California, San Juan Lightning and once again the local team pulled out the 3-0 victory.
The final proved to be the toughest match by far but Taylor’s team racked up a very close 3-2 win over the Chicago Magic.
“I believe our team is special in that the players and parents are committed to this unique development and it carries over as they practice at home,” Taylor added.
The Earthquakes East Valley team doesn’t have much time for celebration as they are competing in Danville at the Mustangs Tournament this weekend.