By Arielle Sallai
Soccerloco San Diego
, held at the san Diego Polo Club fields in Del Mar, July 27-29 and Aug. 3-5, had many local teams vying for a first place trophy. Yet despite a surprising loss to Hawaii’s Abunai 04 Navy in their first game of the tournament, U-10 boys team Nomads Muñoz, of the La Jolla-based Nomads soccer Club, came back to defeat a San Diego Surf Academy team, 2-1, in the championship and bring home the win in their division.
It’s an especially impressive victory considering this local tournament’s commitment to highlighting “the best of the best.” More than 670 teams applied for the 378 places in the Cup, meaning the tournament Committee had to turn away hundreds of teams, including five state Cup champions and finalists.
their win against surf in the finals came after a decisive 4-1 victory in the semi-finals against state champions Albion, another San Diego club. It made for a fitting set of triumphs; Nomads Muñoz coach Jose Muñoz said his players couldn’t join the Albion powerhouse clubs for lack of funds.
Originally from Los Angeles, Muñoz formed the team a year and a half ago after seeing the amount of underprivileged kids in City Heights with the talent, but not the means, to play high-level club soccer.
Muñoz said even though the team is still relatively young, they’ve become a close- knit unit and a force to be reckoned with. “These kids spend most of the week together,” he said. “they’re all from City Heights — pretty much 90 percent of the kids live there — so they know each other from school ... and we have practice twice a week and games on saturdays and games on sundays ... so the team is really tight.”
Muñoz’s team comes from a long line of successful Nomads teams. According to Mary Kaliff, Nomads Soccer Club’s general administrator, the Nomads have won 32 championship titles since 1988 and have had Nomads alumni participate in every World Cup since 1986.
Here’s to hoping Muñoz’s kids will one day be among them.