Editor’s Note: This is a two-part story with the second story appearing in this Friday’s edition.
Pahrump AYSO Region 808 made history last month and may do so again this month.
The girls U10 squad, dubbed Pahrump United, traveled to southern California and proceeded to batter three different California teams last month, taking first place at the Section All Stars competition.
The victory secured the team a spot in the Western States Tournament in Bullhead City, Arizona this month.
U10 denotes the average age of the squad is under 10 years old.
Coach Danny Coleman said his team entered the tournament as underdogs.
“The players and parents were just overjoyed and it’s such a big deal for us to play in this tournament because Pahrump has never ever been to the championship game before,” he said.
The team’s most recent triumph was a two-day tournament.
Coleman said teams must be successful on Saturday in order to ‘play for all the marbles’ on Sunday.
In order to compete in California’s tournament, Pahrump had to take on area teams.
The All Star girls had great success during a recent tournament in Summerlin, pitting Pahrump United against Bullhead City and Summerlin.
Their achievement punched their ticket to compete in the Golden State tournament.
“We were the third team to go to Sunday while the other two teams lost straight through,” he said. “We were the only ones to make it to the championship round and obviously the only one to place first. I’ve had a smile on my face since the tournament last weekend.”
Coleman said there was a bit of apprehension in his mind as the squad traveled to California.
He noted the talent pool in Pahrump was obviously much smaller than what the California teams had to work with.
The coach said he had roughly 50 players to choose from as opposed to California.
“The other regions had 300 girls to choose from,” he said. “We try to do as best as we can and we usually can hold our own. First place was a very big surprise seeing that it was the first time Pahrump ever took first place in the tournament.”
The team’s overall statistics were astonishing.
“We scored 33 goals and five goals have been scored against us. We’ve also had eight shutouts. We had quite a few big victories.”
Coleman made certain to give credit to his coaching staff, Jimmy Martinez and Charese Moore.
“I really trust them to coach if I’m gone,” he said. “I would have no worries about their coaching abilities. I have been a coach for about 7 years now.”
As far as his coaching philosophy, Coleman stresses the fundamentals of the game.
“I don’t want to piggyback on one good thing and ride that all the way.” he said. “I need all my girls’ skills to progress. If I teach everybody the right thing, the right way all the time, it benefits the whole team. These girls work hard all of the time. All of their parents push them as well and work with them on the side, on off days and it’s not just one parent, it’s every single parent.”
In preparation for the Western tournament in Bullhead City, Coleman plans to equip the team the same way he did against the California competition.
“During the California tournament, I saw what we were not doing correctly and what we needed to work on,” he said. “I’m going to use what I saw in this tournament and work on that.”
Coleman also gave posthumous credit to what he considers his first soccer mentor.
U8 coach and Division Coordinator Renee Park, passed away last September.
Park had been involved in Region 808 over the past 20 years and played adult soccer in Arizona.
“She would be very proud of this moment right now and she actually was my coach,” he said. “I have known her since soccer started here when I was nine and that was 25 years ago. She was one of the founding people of youth soccer and she was fantastic. She had the knowledge to be a great coach.”
Without getting too far ahead of himself, Coleman said he also has an eye on next season when his entire team moves up in the age bracket.
“Usually it would be split, where half the girls would move up and half the girls will stay, which makes the teams kind of off-balance a little bit,” he said. “Next year hopefully I can get all these girls again and add a couple more so we can play with a little bit more players and we’ll be ready for next year.”
This month’s Western Finals Tournament is a one-day affair, which kicks off on March 20th in Bullhead City.
At present, there is no national tournament.
“You go in and do your best for one day, and see how you come out,” Coleman said.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes