Advertisement
Share

La Jolla Youth Soccer team takes second place in Southern California tournament

The La Jolla Youth Soccer League's girls 2005 Impact team
The La Jolla Youth Soccer League’s girls 2005 Impact team (front row from left): Tatiana Rollick, Amber Dunlea, Eden Choi-Fitzpatrick, Sophie Boxwala, Ela Quintero, Sienna Gustafson and Sophia Rollick; (back row from left): Abby Plezia, Daphne Jones, Emmie Kao, Kat Quirino, Ava Tasende, Lucia Meza, Daniella Solkhon and coach Trent Painter.
(Debbie Dunlea)

The La Jolla Youth Soccer League’s girls 2005 Impact team kicked its way to second place in the Elite level of the SoCal State Cup on May 15 after two weekends of competition in Norco.

The award is the team’s highest achievement yet, captain Amber Dunlea said.

Amber, 17, a student at Mission Bay High School in Pacific Beach, said the G2005 team was originally a wildcard entry in the Southern California tournament (2005 refers to the birth year of the team’s oldest players).

“When we went into elimination rounds, there was a little hesitation of how it would turn out,” she said. “[But] when the ref blew his whistle and we all started playing, there was no doubt that we [would] make it through because we all put in 110 percent effort.”

Amber said it was the best the team had played. “We definitely earned it.”

Daniella Solkhon, 15, who attends La Jolla High School, said earning second place was “pretty cool because last year ... we got eliminated … on the first game out of knockout rounds, which is pretty disappointing.”

Daphne Jones, 16, also a La Jolla High student, has been playing soccer since she was 4. She joined the G2005 team eight years ago.

She said the connections she’s made in the sport are a major reason for her love of soccer.

The team’s goalie, Lucia Meza, 16, who attends Mission Bay High, said the team’s chemistry makes it special. “Our team practices are fun,” she said. “I enjoy playing soccer with the people [on the team].”

Lucia credits coach Trent Painter with much of the G2005 team’s success.

The players stay on that team as they get older, and Painter has been the coach since 2016. He said his longevity is unusual, because normally coaches move on from a team after three years.

“Our club is unique in that way,” said Painter, who also coaches women’s soccer for UC San Diego. “I love that setup, and it really gives me the opportunity to grow with the kids and for them to just have one coach. … It’s worked out pretty well.”

“I think this could take us in a higher direction and more competitive direction, too, which is good for the girls, the team and, most importantly, it’s good for the club and the community.”

— Trent Painter, coach

Painter said the connections between players and coach strengthen the team’s chances to win.

“I’m proud of the accomplishments they have this year,” he said. “We’ve been through a lot and our team has changed over the years, but [recently] we’ve had a cohesive group and we started to just play better.”

He also noted the girls’ improved resilience, dedication and discipline.

“It was very cool to see them get as far as they did,” Painter said. “It’s given me a new perspective on the team and of the girls. I think this could take us in a higher direction and more competitive direction, too, which is good for the girls, the team and, most importantly, it’s good for the club and the community.”

Amber said making it to the finals has been a dream of hers for years, and “moving forward from here, we’re just going to get better.”

She said the team now will focus on summer tournaments. ◆