It’s quite an accomplishment for the club, which is based in Orange County, but joined forces with the South Bay Force last summer so that all but a couple of players on the team are from the South Bay.
The team was seeded 31st out of 32 teams who made the playoffs after having a 16 point deduction for fielding two ineligible players earlier in the season. The club also needed to score two goals in the final three minutes of regulation in their previous game to qualify for the final on goal difference.
“It was reminiscent of the Women’s World Cup game Sunday except they needed two goals, not just one,” said Greg Yorke, president of the Force. “They went from being out of it to going to the final in that short a time.
“It’s certainly an exciting season for them, an exciting run,” he added, in something of an understatement.
Read the game story.
Jose Villareal, who had the two goals, attends Leuzinger High and Yorke said he was a late replacement on the U-18 National Team today for a prestigious tournament in Northern Ireland. It’s unclear whether Villareal even knew he made the national team, since Coach Todd Saldaa only learned of his inclusion early today and may not have informed the player ahead of the game.
Teammate Javan Torre also made the national team squad.
Saldaa must be out celebrating with his team; he hasn’t yet returned a couple of calls I made seeking comment.
I’ll update the blog post if I hear from him.