On the same day that the U.S. women’s soccer team was winning the World Cup, the South Los Angeles Legends were achieving their own historic moment.
The group of 11- and 12-year-old girls won the AYSO 12U national games championship in Hawaii on Sunday. The team is made up entirely of African American girls.
A spokeswoman for AYSO said the organization could not confirm with 100% certainty that the South Los Angeles Legends are the first solely African American team to win a national games championship because “we do not have any records of those specific things.” But Yvonne Lara said in an email, “I know they are one of the first.”
LaShon Wooldridge, a parent of a Legends player, said she believes the team is the first based on research done on the other regions that have won AYSO national games titles.
What’s clear is the Legends won eight games in Hawaii and more than 45 games in a row during the season. Among the standout players was team MVP Skyla Wilkins.
AYSO is a 55-year organization that has given many youth players their first opportunity to compete in competitive soccer. It is considered far more affordable for participants than club soccer, with participation cost $100 compared to several thousand for club soccer. The team comes from South Los Angeles AYSO Region 1031 Kenneth Hahn Soccer Park. They were coached by the husband-wife team of Ivan and Habeebbah Kolleff.
Wooldridge said the team has had a variety of ethnic groups represented in the past, but this is the first completely African American team to win a national title.
“I hope this is inspirational,” she said.
Team members include Elicia Lewis, Kennedy Richard, Jaxon Gelin, Sanaa Pitter, Sidney Wooldridge, Ivy Williams, Ameerah Kolleff, Skyla Wilkins, Aahana Holmes, Madeline Holly, Jordan Washington and Kennedy Caesar.