With Gilson, Strong, Perez SRU is already a winner

 In the world of youth soccer, exactly what does this “State Cup” thing mean?

Oh, it sounds pretty impressive, but is it?

Actually it depends on who you talk to. And now that the splinter group – NorCal — has established itself the title “State Cup” is further diluted.

Back in the day when the California Youth Soccer Association was the whole show, the “State Cup” was the only game in town for most teams at season’s end. Sometimes the fields were as large as 64 teams and anyone could enter if you had the entry fee and the moxie to think you could advance against Class I teams that fielded the best players and had played against the top competition.

This year’s girls U-12 CYSA-North tournament had 12 teams in the field.

There was and still is a CYSA-North and CYSA-South State Cup champion (you see, no where is there one true “State Cup” champ) and those winners would advance to (and still do) the Far West Regional with a shot of making it to the USYSA national event.

Then along came NorCal with a little different approach to the league/tournament things and some of the best teams/clubs were siphoned off. It set up its own “State Cup” although it really is just a northern California Cup. Winners don’t advance to a regional.

And, as SRU U-11 Tremor coach Martin Perez said, “The NorCals are much better for younger teams while CYSA is better for older players. That’s why we entered the NorCal event.”

But regardless of NorCal or CYSA, one thing remains constant – coaching.

I don’t know Mr. Perez, but if he has his team this far in the proceedings then he must be as dedicated, fair and qualified as his counterparts – Jim Strong (U12 Ice) and John Gilson (U13 Freeze).

Strong, either as a head coach or assistant, has been to the CYSA State Cup finals at least 10 times over the years with the Heat, Storm and Strikers among others.

Gilson, maybe the best goalie coach in the area, has been teaching soccer fundamentals for various youth teams and Ursuline High for several years.

So, no matter what happens on Saturday, all three teams with those stellar coaches, have already won in a big way.

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SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE

CYSA NORTH STATE CUP

GIRLS U-13

SRU Freeze vs. Danville Mustang Xplosion, 11 a.m. at Elk Grove

NORCAL STATE CUP

GIRLS U-11

SRU Tremors vs. Manteca FC Newcastle, 1:30 p.m., at Woodland

CYSA NORTH STATE CUP

GIRLS U-12

SRU Ice vs. Belmont Legends, 3 p.m., at Elk Grove

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SRU U-12 ICE ROSTER

Maddie Batchelder

Izzy Christman

Celeste Barajos

Regan Connell

Hailey DeAngelo

Lily Gack

Aimee Holland

Mel Mathewson

Erica Munos

Jules Rossini

Lupe Sosa

Rachel Walls

Hanah Weitzel

Conchita Laborin

Alyiah Shields

Head coach: Jim Strong

Assistant: Paul Dixon