The Daily Pilot Cup youth soccer tournament has staying power through the memory of its alumni.
Just ask Costa Mesa Pomona Elementary boys’ fifth- and sixth-grade Silver Division coach Pablo Martinez.
Martinez won the boys’ fifth- and sixth-grade Gold Division championship in 2012 with Pomona, and now he is back at the school trying to deliver on the same dream for the next generation.
“That feeling [of winning the Daily Pilot Cup], you always want to get it back,” Martinez said. “Helping out these kids to try to get that feeling, as well, is honestly the greatest part about being a coach. I feel like they have the potential to go all the way through.”
Pomona played as though it had been well schooled in the game of soccer, producing passes that led to countless scoring chances and playing with a clear understanding of shape and spacing.
Abraham Moreno and Victor Ruiz each had two goals and one assist to lead Pomona to a 5-0 victory over Newport Coast on Thursday in a boys’ fifth- and sixth-grade Silver Division pool play match at Jack R. Hammett Sports Complex.
Julian Castro also scored a goal for Pomona, which scored four times in the second half and earned its second shutout.
Of the three goal scorers, only Moreno raised his hand as a player whose name had previously been published in the newspaper. Although he had little to say about his performance, he let his play do the talking.
Moreno scored in the opening minute of the game. In the 33rd minute, he doubled the Pomona lead to 2-0 with a beautiful individual effort. He ran down the ball across the midfield stripe, took one touch to put the ball behind the last defender, and he won the race back to the ball before putting a shot inside the right post.
“He works day in and day out,” said Martinez, a 2018 graduate of Costa Mesa High. “His grandfather comes to watch him. His dad does. He wants to play for the support of his family. He wants to make them proud.
“I guess that is what really makes him a fantastic player because you don’t see that many players trying to do everything for their family to make them proud.”
Castro scored his goal when Moreno was able to play the ball toward the middle of the box with his right shoulder.
Ruiz scored back-to-back goals in the 48th and 49th minutes to extend the Pomona lead to 5-0. On his first goal, he exhibited patience in dribbling to the front of the net from the right sideline. Ruiz gave credit to his teammate for finding him in space.
“Just one player to beat and the keeper,” Ruiz said. “I got the ball, [Anthony Chavez] passed it to me, and it was an open goal right there.”
Newport Coast stayed in the contest for much of the match, thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Bobby Holmes. He made nine saves in the match, and he also received help from his back line.
In the 24th minute, center back Logan Walsh blocked a Pomona shot that was headed into the right corner of the goal, keeping Newport Coast within one goal at the time.
Newport Coast was also able to test Pomona goalkeeper Joel Perez with shots from Grant Davidson and Masoon Malki.
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