Blogs / Features
Jose GarciaMultimedia Journalist/Historian firstname.lastname@example.org
Carl Hayden no longer a Cinderella soccer storyDec 31, 2012
The Cinderella soccer slipper no longer fits Carl Hayden’s boys soccer program.
Underdogs aren’t supposed to beat Chandler Hamilton and reach the championship game of what is becoming one of the premier national high school soccer tournaments, the Arizona Soccer Showcase. Those accomplishments are signs of a good program, but what Carl Hayden wants to be is great.
But to get to there, Carl Hayden needs to start winning championships. On Monday, the Phoenix program, a 2010 state runner-up, was outworked by nationally ranked San Clemente of Southern California in their Arizona Showcase final at Scottsdale Sports Complex.
After a slow start, Carl Hayden flashed some of its well known passing skills, but its tired legs couldn’t keep up with its opponent in the second half, when San Clemente scored three goals en route to a 4-1 victory. Carl Hayden coach Abner Calderon didn’t totally blame fatigue for his team’s loss.
“We are getting ourselves in position to wins things now,” Calderon said. “It is no longer about we are getting close and didn’t make it.
“It’s not about the coaching or the players now. It’s about that decisive moment. What are you going to do during that moment? How are you going to be remembered? The players need to overcome that barrier. Yes, they are tired. But if you are smart you can overcome being tired.”
Carl Hayden played six games in five days in the 30-team tournament but so did San Clemente.
San Clemente scored its first goal early thanks to a pass Aleksander Cucuk chipped over a defender to set up Oscar Hernandez’s quick strike that ended with the ball hitting the far side netting first. But Carl Hayden (10-2) recorded the first half equalizer after Jose Rivera, Roberto Carrizosa and Juanito Vazquez combined perfectly on a scoring play.
But in the second half San Clemente’s Blayne Martinez scored two goals and tournament MVP Gage Zerboni added another to put the game away. Cucuk scored the game winning goal with three minutes remaining in the second overtime of San Clemente’s 1-0 semifinal victory over Phoenix Brophy on Monday.
“Brophy is a class act, and we have total respect for them,” San Clemente’s 25-year coach Michael Pronier said. “We came out here wanting to play them, and for us to come out on top (against Brophy) and get this (championship) game, it’s really exciting.”
San Clemente won a state title two years ago and was ranked No. 6 in the latest Maxpreps national winter soccer rankings.
Brophy was ranked No. 13. Carl Hayden advanced to the final after beating the defending Division I champ, Hamilton, 3-2 in Monday’s semifinals. It was the first time that Carl Hayden beat Hamilton.
Hugo Solano, Juan Garnica and Ramiro Vasquez scored for Carl Hayden in the semifinals.
“We’re not done,” Calderon said. “We’re not done yet.”