The air’s thinner up Wyoming’s way, but that shouldn’t stop the high-flying Valley United Stars of Reseda, the girls 12-and-younger state soccer champions.
The Stars, who own one of the most impressive win-loss records in the history of California youth soccer, with 157 wins and only seven losses over the past two years, leave Saturday to battle other state powerhouses at the national youth soccer championships in Casper, Wyo.
The 15-member California squad formed a few years ago as a group of all-star players hand-picked from San Fernando Valley league teams. The kids came together quickly and became so dominant in their age group that they opted to play “up” a year in an older age bracket.
They also traveled outside Los Angeles to regional tournaments and continued to hand losses to strong teams, picking up dozens of tournament titles.
Although often physically overmatched, the Stars’ tactical superiority, skillful play and athleticism almost always resulted in victory. In March, the girls won their second consecutive state championship, rebounding from a rare, hard loss early on in state competition.
“We’re going into nationals at full strength,” Vic Fodor said this week. The Stars team manager and dad said the team is “playing some of the best soccer we’ve probably ever played.”
But are the girls nervous?
“I imagine they’ve got a few jitters, maybe they’re feeling pressure that we’re supposed to win it,” Fodor said. “And they’ve been hearing a lot about what it’s like to play at 5,100 feet [elevation],” he added. “But I think once they get out and start playing, it’ll become just another game.”