Francini instrumental to CdM's success

When Andrew Francini and Nate Pozin aren't playing soccer for Corona del Mar High, you can find the two playing inside a garage on Point Loma Drive. They cannot blast the soccer ball inside, just music.

Francini and Pozin are part of a three-member Indie Rock band. The band's name is "Point Loma" and it named itself after the street it jams on.

The teenagers use Pozin's garage as their jam pad and it can get loud whenever Francini is on guitar, Pozin is on the drums, and Kyle Mohan is on the mic. Neighbors can hear the three CdM seniors rock out and they have complained.

"Police have never come," Francini says with a smile, "but there [have] definitely been calls to the house where we have to quiet down. The neighbors always call Mrs. Pozin. She's the most supportive."

The band does have a following outside of the Pozin house. Some of its ardent fans are on the CdM boys' soccer team. Teammates have attended the band's gigs at places like the Whisky a Go-Go in West Hollywood and the House of Blues in Anaheim.

Francini and Pozin, who are best friends, have been creating music together since eighth grade. The next school year they befriended Mohan and the three formed a band.

The band recorded its self-titled album in the summer of its sophomore year. The band went all the way to India to make it happen. Mohan's father, Nino, helped. He is from India, where he is a well-known tourist agent.

"He wanted to show us the country and the rates for recording were low, yet the quality was high," says Francini, adding that the nine-track album was mastered in Amsterdam.

Playing together, whether that's in a studio, in front of a crowd, or alone in the garage, is what the band enjoys. As of late, the members haven't been able to because of their busy schedules with school and soccer. Soccer is keeping Francini and Pozin busy during this time of the school year.

One member who has performed without the use of his hands is Francini. He has shown he's just as talented with the soccer ball at his feet as he is with his fingers on an electric guitar.

Francini is the holding midfielder for the Sea Kings. Last week, he helped CdM close out Pacific Coast League play unbeaten, a first under Coach George Larsen's five seasons.

The Sea Kings claimed the outright league title by winning their final seven league contests, four of those via shutout, to finish 8-0-2. Francini played a key role in the defense only allowing four goals during the seven-game stretch.

The job as a defensive midfielder requires Francini to break up the opposition's attack, do a lot of the dirty work. There used to be a time, at the beginning of the season, when Francini couldn't crack CdM's lineup.

In two marquee nonleague matches in December, Francini says he didn't see time on the field against Edison and San Clemente. Then an early turf toe injury to starter Mason Garell opened up a spot for Francini.

"I got [an opportunity]," Francini says. "I just had to [prove] myself."

When Garell, a senior, went down for the season, Larsen knew it was going to be a big loss. With 31 players on the team, 25 of them being seniors, he had capable players to take over for Garell, yet he still worried.

"It was a question mark," Larsen says.

Francini got rid of the question for Larsen. He emerged as the holding midfielder and CdM, which is 15-3-4 overall, has relied on him ever since.

The last time a Larsen-led team depended on a Francini as much as it does now, the Sea Kings claimed their first outright league title with Larsen in charge. Francini's older brother, Matt, stood out at CdM, before he graduated two years ago.

Matt also played on the CdM team that made history during the 2009-10 season, when it won a CIF Southern Section Division 4 title and a CIF Southern California Regional Division II title. The young Francini, an eighth-grader back then, says he went to all of his brother's matches that season in which CdM went 27-1-1.

"They had superstars," says Francini, remembering watching Reed Williams and Jack McBean shred defenses before the forwards went on to play for the UCLA men's soccer team and the Los Angeles Galaxy, respectively. "I always envied all of those guys. I would always see them and I wanted to be like them.

"They were probably the best team to ever walk this school."

Players from that special team now follow Francini and the Sea Kings. Williams has come out to CdM matches, and Matt, who attends Stanford, keeps track of the team online and by texting his brother.

Matt always sends encouraging texts and his brother appreciates them. Anything helps during this crucial part of CdM's season, the Division 3 playoffs. The Sea Kings opened at home with a 3-0 victory against Glendale on Thursday and they travel to Anaheim (11-5-6) for a second-round match on Tuesday.

A year ago, CdM's season ended on the road in the second round. The Sea Kings don't plan to go out so early again in the postseason.

While Francini and Pozin are looking forward to having more time to make music in the garage with Mohan before they go their separate ways after high school, those plans can wait for at least a couple of weeks, when the playoffs end.

"This is the last time they are going to be part of a team and they get to wear that jersey," Larsen says. "They're trying to make the most of it."

Francini and Pozin want to go out like rock stars, on top as section champions.

Andrew Francini

Born: May 28, 1996

Hometown: Sacramento

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 155 pounds

Sport: Soccer

Year: Senior

Coach: George Larsen

Favorite food: Korean barbeque

Favorite movie: "The Shawshank Redemption"

Favorite athletic moment: Beating University at home this season.

Week in review: Francini helped the Sea Kings claim their first unbeaten Pacific Coast League title in Coach George Larsen's five seasons.

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