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Puma brings scoring touch far from home

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Scoring to cap a win in the Elite Clubs National League girls’ soccer finals followed months of training and travel for Tatia Dumbadse, from Maria Carrillo High.

Brought onto the San Diego Surf Soccer Club to make a national title run, Dumbadse and the ECNL U14 team have three more wins to go.

Next is a quarterfinal today against FC Virginia ECNL U14, in Richmond, Va.

“It’s one of the biggest tournaments you can be at. All the teams here are amazing. Just being here is an honor,” Dumbadse said.

Joining new teams as a guest player for tournaments in and out of California has become a way of soccer life for Dumbadse, whose home club is the Rampage of Santa Rosa-based Atletico.

Yet she has never spent several months training with a team so far away from home. Practicing with the Surf on weekends during the school year and three days a week this summer with more work at home has been both challenging and rewarding, she said.

“It’s busy, but it’s been fun,” Dumbadse said. “All the girls and the coaches have been very open and glad I’m on the team.”

The San Diego Surf is a nationally recognized soccer club. The squad Dumbadse joined plays in the Elite Clubs National League, established four years ago with a goal of creating a more competitive national youth soccer program.

The top 16 girls’ teams in each of four age divisions — 14, 15, 16, 17 — are competing at the 2012-13 finals in Virginia through Monday.

San Diego opened play Thursday with a 7-2 win over the Colorado Rush ECNL U14. Playing left forward, Dumbadse scored the Surf’s final goal.

“This is where I wanted to get and I’m really happy,” Dumbadse said.