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Youth soccer team makes jump to competitive league
youth soccer pic
Aliyah Albores dribbles the ball for Turlock Active Orthopedic during a U12 girls soccer match. - photo by Photo courtesy of Jack Smith

For the past two years the girls of Turlock Active Orthopedic have scorched their Turlock Youth Soccer Association competition; finishing undefeated and claiming the End of Year Tournament title in both U10 and U12 seasons.

The recently completed fall season also saw the group of 10 and 11 year olds dominate in the Founder’s Cup—a tournament boasting some of the best teams Northern California has to offer. Now, after beating North Fresno in the Championship match 4-3, Turlock Active Orthopedic is ready to step away from recreation play and enter the arena of competitive soccer for Turlock FC.

“The fact that we were able to compete against older girls and win confirms that we’re ready to take that next step,” head coach Christina Garcia said.

Garcia’s team of already confident players achieved a new level of certainty on the soccer field this past season after imposing their will on older girls. That assurance is only one of many factors that has led to the team’s success according to Garcia.

“They’re all intelligent and athletic girls,” Garcia said. “Off the field these girls are friends and they hang out together too. I think that contributes to their success; they have fun off the field and they have fun on the field competing.”

But competition level soccer is much different than recreation play. Teams will be stronger and faster and the matches will be tighter and more physical. The girls will again be playing opponents of the same age, U11, but Garcia knows there will be some adjustments that accompany the transition.

“Ultimately, the girls are going to face losing a game,” Garcia said. “They know how to win; they win with grace. Now they’re going to have to learn how to comeback in a game because they’re not always going to have a comfortable lead.”

Still, Garcia and her assistant head coach Adalso Flores, firmly believe that their girls will be ready to take on the next level when the Turlock FC schedule begins in March.

“When the going gets tough they take it up a notch,” Garcia said. “They’re very fierce competitors.”