They may be small, but they're a force to be reckoned with. The Alhambra Phoenix, a girls under 12 soccer team, won the State American Youth Soccer Organization Championship earlier this month. Coach Carlos Garcia couldn’t be prouder of the team. Garcia, an Alhambra resident and engineer by day, said the girls worked together better than any other team he has worked with in 11 years of coaching youth sports.
What makes this team special?
I would say two things: chemistry with most of the kids and chemistry with most of the parents. Everybody settled into their own roles – all of the girls really enjoyed being around each other. They were always looking forward to the next practice. We would have movie night and they would all show up. If one of the parents were going out to have pizza, they all wanted to go. The chemistry was there the entire season. That really showed out on the field, when they went out to play, because they recognized that it didn’t matter if they were playing with someone who was a starter or someone who was subbing in. All the girls felt completely comfortable that they had each other’s backs and everybody was going to perform. And I’ve never had that on a team before. At least not with every player.
Does that include when you coached boys baseball?
Absolutely – that includes baseball as well. I came close a few years ago with a boys’ team, two years ago, even then I don’t think it flowed as well as this year. The sad thing about the girls’ team this year was that when we won the championship, it had to end. A lot of the parents and the team members mentioned to me on Sunday when we won it all, they were really sad, because they weren’t going to be able to compete anymore and I mentioned that we could do some tournaments and games in the spring, if we could get the entire team back together again.
Names of girls: Tiffany Chan, Zoe Chang, Casey Moore, Sophia Garcia, Jezteni Espinoza, Izel Gutierrez, Nicole (Nikki) Vargas, Caia Rice, Tatiana Garnett, Kyrene Beltran, Marissa Castillo, and Gabrielle (Gabby) Morales.