Golden State club team sparkles

Success is measured with different indicators for the Glendale Golden State Diamond Futbol Club 17U boys’ soccer team this summer.

The Golden State club, guided by La Cañada High girls’ soccer coach Louie Bilowitz, is heading into Saturday’s West Coast Futbol Club Tournament in Irvine red hot.

In terms of wins and losses, Glendale has been dominant, racking up a 17-1-3 record, while claiming four tournament titles in as many tries and is currently ranked fourth in Southern California and seventh in its region, according to gotsoccer.com.

The 17-player roster, which includes two locals in Crescenta Valley High’s Tony Royer and Jason Winicki, hopes to continue it success when it opens play at 9:25 a.m. versus TVSA 17U Academy at Irvine Valley College at 9:25 a.m.

“In the space of 21 games, we’ve only lost one game and that was to a 19U team that we later ended up beating,” said Bilowitz, whose team has won the Pats HB Cup, the Slammers Cup, the Pateadores Cup and, most recently, the Soccerloco Surf Cup. “I’ve been proud of the way the guys have played.

“We kept only 10 of 19 players from last year and those were the ones comfortable with my system. I want players who are flexible and coachable and this team certainly has those players.”

Glendale is coming off a 4-0-2 run in claiming in the Soccerloco Surf Cup in San Diego on July 29.

The Cup featured 378 total teams from throughout the world participating in several different brackets and age groups.

“The Surf Cup is one of the two biggest tournaments of the summer,” Bilowitz said. “This and the [North Huntington Beach] Cup are the elite cups out there. So, it’s nice to go out, play well and win.”

Glendale didn’t start too quickly, though, beginning with ties versus ASA Milan Black Hawks and CV Pumas Premier FC, 2-2 and 0-0, respectively, on July 27.

Golden State notched its first victory the next day with a 3-2 victory over LVSA 97 that tied Glendale for first place in its four-team pool with ASA and advanced the diamond squad to the first round of the tournament playoffs later the same evening.

That night, Glendale continued its winning ways with a 3-2 triumph over Marin 97 Blue that pushed the team into the final four on July 29.

“Honestly, I don’t think we played our best the first two days of the tournament,” Bilowitz said. “But then that Monday, we may have played our best all year.”

Glendale slammed Carlsbad Elite B96, 3-0, in the tournament semifinals before rolling to a 2-0 win over Sereno 97 from Arizona in the championship match at the San Diego Polo Club.

All this was done without Royer, who was playing on an Olympic Development Team.

“We could have definitely used Tony,” Bilowitz said. “Fortunately, we had other players who did well.”

After the win, Golden State offensive midfielder Daniel Crisostomo, a current Webb School player, took home the tournament MVP.

“Daniel is a very skilled soccer player with a great vision and schools like Yale, UCLA, UC Irvine and Santa Clara are interested in him,” Bilowitz said. “He’s a great kid and does everything I ask of him. I can’t take any credit for his skill, that was the coaches before me. I just tried to work on his tactical game.”

More important than wins and losses for Bilowitz is the notice his team received in San Diego and in other tournaments.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a coach’s job to get his kids placed in colleges,” Bilowitz said. “I could care less about stats or wins. The good thing about wins is the attention, but as long as these kids go on and continue playing college, that’s success for me. I want to see these kids playing at the next level."

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