The Southern California National Premier League championship was a moment in San Bernardino that set the Culver City Football Club on the road to Rockford, Illinois.
The May 19 match for boys under 17 pitted two of the Southland’s strongest club soccer teams, Culver City Football Club (CCFC) and Laguna United. CCFC prevailed in that match 3-1 with scoring from Chris De La Torre (two goals) and Hayden Brown who also play for Culver City High.
That victory propelled the team to the National Premier League playoffs in Rockford, Illinois, which take place June 28th through July 2nd. The team will face regional champions from across the country with a goal of qualifying for the National Finals which are to be held July 11th through July 15th in Commerce City, Colorado.
Head Coach German Molina, who took over coaching duties in February, has made great strides in a relatively short amount of time. “The foundation was there. Coach Krist Colocho advanced this team to new heights every year for the past seven years and they were ready to take a big leap. Sometimes a new voice is all that is needed,” said Molina. The youthful and energetic Molina has given the team a renewed sense of confidence.
Defender and CCHS junior, Nicholas Stewart, agrees, “We’re playing well together as a unit now. Our defense is really strong. We feel like we can compete against anyone.” Recent results substantiate this claim. Last week, in the U.S. Club Soccer National Cup West Regional tournament, in Davis, California, CCFC gave up no goals in three matches during pool play, while advancing to the finals.
With a name like Culver City Football Club on the club crest, one would expect to see players from Culver City High School on the roster, and there are currently eight. Having access to a local club with good coaching has benefitted the Centaurs on the team. Club President and former coach, Krist Colocho concurs, “Culver City Football Club has had a mutually beneficial relationship with Culver High for several years now. The high school season is relatively short so it is important that these players have an affordable, local club to join during the other months of the year. This team doing well enhances the chances of Culver High competing for league titles and CIF championships.”
Most of the players and parents traveling east this week have never been to Chicago. The team will have some down time and plan to do some sightseeing activities in the Chicago and Rockford areas, but the focus will be on advancing to the national finals. Goalkeeper Jack Bushnell offered, “It’s going to be very hot and humid. The other teams will be gunning for us because we’re from Southern California and are supposed to do well. We’re going to give it our best shot and leave it all on the field.”