The Beach FC 17U boys’ team won the U.S. Club Soccer ENPL National Championship earlier this month by beating Gwinnett Soccer Academy 2-0 in the championship match.
“The moment that stands out most to me was when we were all standing up there on the podium,” defender Ethan Szuchan said. “When the final whistle blows, you don’t really take it all in, but when you’re up there with all of your teammates and thinking back to what you did all season and that you’ve gotten to that point is pretty amazing.”
This group of talented players stuck together with coach Ever Morataya after their former club Sand and Surf Soccer dissolved the team five years ago. Morataya said that the core group of players including Szuchan, Dylan Bartlett, Alex Rieg, West and Tyler Telleson made a commitment three years ago.
“It’s been a three-year process with a core group of players that committed to work really hard and playing a lot of tournaments,” Morataya said. “Last September we set our minds to compete and win a national title. The reason were were able to do it was the commitment from the players and the parents. It was a lot of sacrifice and hard work.”
Midfielder Grayson Doody joined the Galaxy Academy when the Sand and Surf team broke up, but found his way to Beach FC a few years ago by following his former teammates to Long Beach.
“We’re fast, quick and we play short passes,” Doody said. “We’re not going to beat a team with physicality. We have a lot of speed so we can get in behind with runners crashing the box.”
That’s exactly how Beach FC saved itself from being eliminated in the group stage of the tournament in Colorado. Beach FC had lost its first game and was stuck in a scoreless draw in their second game. However, in the final minutes Doody played it wide down the line for Mauricio Gutierrez, who broke towards the edge of the 18-yard box. His low cross into the box was poked home for a game-winning goal by Dylan Bartlett.
“That was a huge confidence booster,” Doody said. “That made us believe we could win the whole tournament.”
Beach FC 15-Under Girls’ Development Player League team used a double-overtime goal to win the 2018 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship last year.