Sports

Jun 16, 2014 2:20 AM by Richie Melby (rmelby@kvoa.com)

Tucson Soccer Academy sends team to U.S. Region IV Championships

TUCSON - A group of Tucson teens has made club soccer history and will compete in a prestigious regional tournament this week in New Mexico.

"No team in Tucson history on the boys side had ever won back-to-back state championships on the club level," explains Jeff Rogers.

Until now. The Tucson Soccer Academy's 98 Boys Red team overcame the odds to win a second consecutive title against power-house programs statewide.

"The biggest thing they have going for them is chemistry," said Rogers, the head coach of the program. "They all get along, they're good friends on and off the field, and the dynamics of the players have all come together and they mesh together in a really special way."

"Everything seemed to just fit very well so this year we have become even closer and I think we have been able to continue that chemistry," added midfielder Christopher Cooper.

The club will take that chemistry and talent into the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Championships. The tournament is in Albuquerque, New Mexico which may give the boys from the Old Pueblo an advantage over last year.

"We're more focused this time. It's in New Mexico this year, last year was Hawaii," said Giovanni Ahumuda, a forward on the team. "That was a great experience but now we're focused, we're in the dorms and we're going to be focused just on games."

"It will be a lot easier to be focused and stay focused," Cooper added. "We just need to keep our head where it needs to be."

With experience, confidence and sheer talent, the 98 Boys Red expects nothing less than a trip to the semifinals. They believe they know the secret to that kind of success.

"Take more shots," said Ahumuda. "We didn't have that many shots last year in the quarterfinals. So take more shots and believe in ourselves because a lot of people didn't believe in us to make it this far.

"This time we got it. I think we got it."

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