La Verne Soccer U10 All-Stars Sweep Area Tournament, Move on to Regionals, March 6-7

February 9, 2010
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Front, from left, Cole Stidham, Ryan Knowles, Ryan Crowell, Elijah Phipps, back row, Coach Knowles, Joe Doonan, Tanner Siffert, Nolan O’Laughlin and Coach Stidham. Not pictured Daniel D'Angelo and Tommy Delgado.

Never got around to asking whether as a sixth grade science teacher Robbie Knowles discusses the theory of evolution with his Sandburg Middle School students in Glendora, but one thing his clear, his team of La Verne San Dimas u10 soccer all-stars is evolving into an unselfish team of incredibly talented young players.

Selected for their outstanding play during the regular AYSO season, the team includes: Ryan Crowell, Daniel D’Angelo, Tommy Delgado, Joe Doonan, Ryan Knowles, Nolan O’Laughlin, Elijah Phipps, Tanner Siffert and Cole Stidham.

Most recently, they swept through their area tournament, winning all four games, including two by shutouts against the likes of other high-caliber teams from Azusa, Glendora, Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights and Walnut. Only once in the tournament were his boys trailing, losing 1-0 at half-time, before they came back to win 2-1.

“They held it together and held their composure and came back to win,” said Knowles, who lives in La Verne with his wife Lynda. “Our defense is outstanding.”

Knowles biggest regret is that his players have only ball to share.

“The hard part about being on an all-star team is the kids were all all-stars on their individual teams, so when they would get the soccer ball, they would want to take it all the way and score. Now they have to trust their teammates and pass the ball. You’re not going to be good enough to get around one of these teams by yourself.”

And they’ve responded to playing without the ball.

“They’re willing to share,” said Knowles who coached the Shock Wave during the regular AYSO season alongside Rick Stidham. “They’re not afraid to pass. They’re sure their teammate is going to do something correct with the ball.”

Opposing coaches and even the referees have noticed their unselfish style of play.

“Referees from two games and other coaches from other teams,” Knowles noted, “have come up after the games and said, ‘I can’t believe how well your team passes the ball,’ or, ‘Wow, your team really shares the ball.’”

At the awards ceremony at Royal Oak Middle School in Covina, the tournament director said she couldn’t recall a La Verne San Dimas ever playing so well. Another person at the awards stand said he thought there was a team from La Verne San Dimas in the 80s of a similar caliber. “Either way, that was still a long time ago,” Knowles said.

If there was anything that went wrong in the area tournament it was that Knowles’ own son, Ryan, didn’t get to play. On the eve of the tournament, he was rushed to Pomona Valley Medical Center Hospital.

“On Friday night at 9 ‘o clock, he decided to go out for five more minutes with his big brother, and he pulled the basketball hoop down on his head,” Knowles said. “We were in the emergency room until midnight, where he got a staple in the back of his head, so he didn’t get to play.”

Now the team is using Ryan’s mishap as motivation to continue advancing.

“They said we need to keep winning so Ryan can play,” Knowles said. “By winning, they knew he would get to play in the next tournament.”

That next tournament will be the regional playoffs, March 6-7, in Riverside where LVSD Region 112 will compete in a 16-team tournament. Should they win, the boys would go on to the state championship.

If they keep winning, they just may end liking soccer more than science or just about any other academic or athletic pursuit.

“They’re definitely excited they won the tournament,” Knowles said. “They are playing so well.”

Their spirit and enthusiasm has spilled over into practice.

“It’s amazing how little down time we have in practice,” Knowles said. “They’re on it and paying attention. You tell them something once, and that’s it. I can’t think of another group, I’d want to coach.”

3 Responses to “La Verne Soccer U10 All-Stars Sweep Area Tournament, Move on to Regionals, March 6-7”

  1. Congrats guys!! Good job!!!

  2. Thanks for the story!! My son was so excited to see a write up on the team. He is sending it to all his family and friends. He is proud to represent his city in the regionals and hopes to make it to state.

  3. Good Job team!! my friend Daniel & Nolan is on this team. I want you guys to win it all!! see you at your next game.!!

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