2009 – The year local soccer lost a lot

 Soccer 2009…

Corner Kicks will forget some things about 2009, but there are some things that happened that we’ll never forget …

THE ONES WE LOST

Bob Bell, Joe Belluzzo, Martin Linley.

In their own way each of them had a certain uniqueness, but of course they had that one common thread – soccer.

They loved it, the loved the kids who played it, they gave of their time, their talents, their money both upfront and behind the scenes to the game and kids.

There is no way to ever forget any of them. I just hope some how I can see their names one day on a field, on a tournament, on a soccer program, something, somewhere around here so no one else will ever forget them and the contribution they made to the game in the Empire.

HIGH SCHOOL SURPRISE

Out of nowhere came the Santa Rosa High boys team on the large-school stage and the Calistoga boys on the small-school level. Both made it to the NCS finals, both were turned away. Both teams have plenty to proud of.

HIGH SCHOOL NOT-SO-SURPRISING

Montgomery’s girls returned to the top by dethroning Casa Grande. The Vikings get talented players, no one doubts that, but it takes a plan, a system and a lot of hard work to make it all work. Montgomery’s staff did just that in ’09.

Small-school champion Sonoma Academy wasn’t much different. The challenge for the Coyotes sooner or later will be not to be complacent. Granted the regular season challenges are few for SA, but that should make their resolve only that much stronger. Plus, the talent level won’t always be this high.

COLLEGIATELY SPEAKING

No titles for SRJC or SSU, but they were competitive as usual. Both programs have solid coaching staffs and they are recruiting more and more local players. That is a very good thing.

And our Empire players competing throughout California and all around the country at all levels. I don’t even know all of them. But I can tell you this, I’m proud of all of them for representing our area with their talent and class.

AT THE CLUB LEVEL

Must admit Corner Kicks hasn’t been that locked in to the club scene the past year. Do know that it is very disjointed – too many leagues, clubs, associations. All in one way or another are good and bad.

Good for competition, bad for the pocketbook of the parents. Is their money well-spent? On occasion.

Suggestion – blow up the entire infrastructure of youth club soccer and start over. There has to be a better way.

FINALLY, THE ONE WE ALL MISSED

True story. On Nov. 29 at a small pottery store in Napa, you know the type – come in, bring the kids, fool around, make a little pottery and relax – received a few calls during the course of the afternoon.

Like – where are you located, how’s the weather there, are there many people in the shop. General questions.

So, sometime after 5 p.m. in walks the latest patrons of pottery in Napa – David Beckham, wife Victoria and their children. For an hour or so, having their celebratory hidden away in Napa, they simply made pottery.

Happy New Year!