(Aug 4, 2016) Step onto the San Diego Polo Fields during Surf Cup, and you can't miss the banner proclaiming that "Through these Gates Walk the Best of the Best." The 35-year-old, invitation-only tournament promises to showcase the the best in youth soccer, drawing teams from across the US and around the world, along with thousands of spectators and 450+ college coaches and scouts. Through the same gates walked eight Eastside FC teams last weekend, and by Monday, one stood proud with the Surf Cup championship trophy held high.
Eastside FC G99 Red, coached by Lance Fischbach, was on a mission. Having won the Gold Division at GU17 last year, the team wanted to leave its mark on the top flight at U18, this year dubbed GU18 "Super Black." The team did just that.
The U18 girls sailed through bracket play with three straight wins against strong competition from California and Nebraska to emerge on top, allowing a single goal while scoring six. They then edged out Palo Alto SC in the semis, 1-0, to earn a berth in the finals.
"I'd say this team showed more resolve than maybe any team I've coached before," said Coach Fischbach. "We talked before the final match-up that both teams would be tired, and our team chemistry, competitive nature and belief in one another would give us a chance to win." Of the championship, he told us, "We were down 1-0 in overtime, but we responded almost immediately with a goal. Five mins later, we lost a player to a red card in the second overtime and instead of losing their cool or playing not to lose, the girls came together and created chances, ultimately scoring the game-winner. Our resolve and determination is Elite!"
Indeed, it is.
The 2016 Surf Cup in San Diego is spread over two weeks. The U15-U19 age groups wrapped up their three-day tournament on August 1st; younger age groups, U10-U14, wrap up August 8th.
Complete 2016 Surf Cup results can be found here.