The girls of the U10 Modesto Ajax United soccer club are currently ranked third in the Nor-Cal rankings, after winning their fourth tournament this past weekend.
“The girls are a quality team and we have seen some good stuff so far from them, especially at this age group of 10. They do not play like it at all. They are very mature,” Ajax head coach Tim Leonard said. “They have beaten two state final teams from last year and that is huge. Last year we were around the 6th and 8th ranking, now we are top three; it is impressive.”
After placing second in last year’s tournament, Ajax was able to triumph this year with the help of a talented roster, packed with depth across the board, and outscoring opponents 8-1.
Two representatives from Turlock help make up one of the younger squads in the division. Mia Sanchez, the goalkeeper, is the youngest player at 9 years of age. She recently added three clean sheets in four contests while allowing only one goal. Camila Stephens, also from Turlock, adds speed to the team, unlike any other 10-year-old Leonard has coached.
“We rely on our goalie a lot, she has tremendous ability. You don’t normally see this at that age,” Leonard said. “You don’t normally see hands like Mia’s, or her ability to play goalie so well. Then you have Camila who is incredibly fast, and learning even faster. Her speed and ability is incredible.”
Ajax defeated #20 Elk Grove Navy 2-0, #15 Walnut Creek Barcelona 4-1, #7 Pleasanton Rage Orange 1-0 and #4 Santa Rosa 1-0 in the championship game.
The first three tournaments the Modesto Ajax won were the Ajax Spring Invite, Manteca Invitational, Freedom FC Independence Cup, before taking the Pleasanton Rage College Showcase Tournament last weekend. Ajax also finished second in the Cal Cup, which featured all teams in the top 15.
“We have a very stubborn defense and really have some stars that can score,” Leonard said about the team's success.
The Ajax squad will be competing in Danville at the Mustang Stampede Tournament this weekend.