By Mike Besack
(Irvine)- The first thing you need to lock into your head is that Ralph
Lopez’s Slammers FC BU-11 team is a team. The second is that this team has no patience for the CSL’s Silver bracket, Gold bracket – heck, even its own age bracket, for that matter.
The Slammers, which include players such as Conner Ryan, Kevin Uribe and Sam Winder, become a BU-12 Silver Elite South team this fall after winning the Silver South BU-11 last year. This weekend they showed they’re ready for the promotion by playing up to the BU-12 bracket of the Irvine Summer Classic at UC Irvine.
The team tied three of its four games and lost just one to Cypress FC’s BU-12s, 3-1.
“If we play our appropriate age, we’re not challenged,” Lopez said Sunday after the Cypress game. “Our goal is the future- to get them Gold by the age 15 and Premier by 16.”
If Lopez can make one thing clear it’s that this goal will be accomplished as a team, with a total team effort, relying on no one individual.
“The biggest thing is the chemistry of the boys,” Lopez said. “They work hard together and they want to grow together. We’ve had a lot of support from the club and the parents. The parents all understand our goals.”
The Slammers stormed through the Irvine Memorial Classic last month to win the BU-11 bracket, which set the tone for the summer tourney over the weekend.
Against Cypress’ BU-12s Sunday, the Slammers got a beautiful goal off a set piece when Chris Moya sent a perfect corner kick to William Hunter, who found the back of the net.
The play was an example of the kind of pressure the Slammers can put on the opposition. Players like Jack Tomei, Ryan Stone, Uribe, Winder and Ryan show they’re capable of the same.
The Slammers also are led by Jason Simaan, Stephen Von Der Ahe, Colin Redman, Chris Aguillar, George Wells, Brendon Hueston, Daniel Bjurman and Michael Suchy.
The team got to finish the tournament with a nice consolation game with Anaheim SC Express BU-11- the other bracket team playing up. The result was a 1-1 tie under a hot sun.