A new Gila Valley youth soccer team is hoping to keep the momentum going after only losing four games in their inaugural season.
The summer of 2019 brought the heat, rain, and a new club soccer team to the valley. The Real Salt Lake Southern Arizona Gila Valley Hotshots, a U12 girls soccer team competed in its inaugural season as a local travel team.
The team was coached by Charles Chacon, Rosa Jurado and Sunny Cabrera.
All three coaches have been involved in coaching local soccer for a decade with the local AYSO 216 regular seasons.
“We had goals going into the season, but we didn’t expect to be unranked and then go on being the No. 11th ranked team in Arizona and have a record of 24-4-1,” said assistant coach Sunny Cabrera.
The Hotshots were comprised of 13 girls – 9, 10, and 11-years-old. The team began practicing in late July of 2019; they practiced three times a week for two hours. Practices consisted of various drills, game scenarios, the teaching of field awareness, soccer positions, and many other items needed to compete in club soccer.
The team competed in the Pima County Junior Soccer League, which is comprised of teams from the Tucson area. The team began to play in October and completed the first half of the season in December, finishing first in the U12 flight division.
In November the team finished in second place in the Kick for the Cure tournament in Phoenix. In December, the club competed in the Holiday Classic, again in Phoenix, and the girls finished in first place.
The second half of the season started in January. The girls competed in the Fort Lowell Shootout and they advanced to the semi-finals, but were eliminated.
The Hotshots also competed in the Jacobs Classic in February and finished in first place. During their final tournament in March, The Desert Classic in Phoenix, they once again finished in first place.
The team competed in the second half of the season in the Pima County Junior Soccer League, and were in first place of the U12 girls’ flight division when the season was cut short due to COVID-19.
“The successful season can be attributed to the girls and their commitment to the game of soccer and the team, but also the parents,” Chacon said. “Without the parents and their support, we wouldn’t have had the season we had. The parents bought in from the beginning and took a chance on as coaches and their support, and their belief in this team will always be remembered.”
During the upcoming 2020/2021 soccer season, the team plans to move up to U13 and play 11 versus 11. Girls born in 2008, 2009, 2010 are welcome to tryout.
“Practice will hopefully begin in August, not sure on the exact date,” said Cabrera. “The first game should be held in October, but due to COVID-19 both dates are still up in the air.”
The team will be holding a meeting for those interested on June 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the new ramada at the Graham County Fairgrounds.
Information can also be found on Facebook/ RSL AZ Southern Arizona Soccer Club-Gila Valley. Or people can contact coach Rosa Jurado at 928-428-8161.