It's not often where there is any kind of travel sports team that will feature student-athletes from San Pedro, Port Of Los Angeles and Mary Star Of the Sea High School all in one, much less compete in something that's prestigious.
Yet, the San Pedro Futbol Club AYSO GU16 (girls under 16 years of age) soccer team, that features 16 high school players, 14 of which go to the three San Pedro prep schools, are all joining together for one common cause to compete against some of the nation's best at the AYSO's 50th Annual National Games Tournament which begins this Thursday at West Torrance High.
"I think it's a great tournament," says the San Pedro Futbol Club coach Jon Pepper. "It has a focus on sportsmanship, with an award presented to the team that best exemplifies good sportsmanship. I am especially excited to have it held locally, it brings exposure to our community."
This team, which has placed first once, third once, and was the runner-up three times in five tournaments since April, features POLA High's Celina Campbell, Daisy Garcia, Amanda Lazo, Emily Haugen, Kamryn Cardoza, Alyssa Medrano and Maddi Pepper, San Pedro High's Cera Villegas, Lauren Antonelos, Francesca Infantozzi, Kirra Mardesich, Paige Kielbasa and Julie Grassian, along with Mary Star's Alyssa DiMassa.
All 14 are either going into their sophomore or junior year of high school, as the San Pedro and POLA representatives have competed on teams that have won either the Marine or Crosstown League.
Palos Verdes High twin sisters Katie and Karlie Setka round out the rest of the team.
Jon Pepper says he is proud that all three San Pedro-based high schools are represented.
"These girls all played AYSO before getting to high school, then they ended up at different schools, but they never forgot their roots in AYSO and never let the difference of schools separate them on the field." says Pepper, a San Pedro native.
The San Pedro Futbol Club begins play in the AYSO National Games on Thursday with a pair of games at 8 am and 1:20 pm, along with two more Friday games at 10:20 am and 4 pm all at West High in Torrance.
The GU19 team features the 2014 San Pedro News Pilot Prep Girls Soccer Player Of The Year in POLA's Isabela Van Antwerp, who will be entering her senior year. Other notables on this team includes San Pedro soon-to-be senior Kirsten Bauman, former San Pedro High girls soccer scoring machine Joanna Perone, the recently graduated Elizabeth Bertone and Jenny Rivera who made All-Marine League first team for the Pirates, San Pedro girls cross-country runner Isabel Hegge, and Van Antwerp's fellow co-captain at POLA, soon-to-be senior Tiffany Torres.
For more information on the schedule of events, click here: http://50.ayso.org/schedule-of-events/