The best youth girls soccer in the country is played in Southern California. Need proof? How about Cal South's sweep at the Olympic Development Program national championships last weekend in Frisco, Texas.
Cal South, the U.S. Soccer-affiliated governing body of soccer in So Cal, won the girls 1995 and 1996 titles. The boys teams finished third in both ODP competitions.
West Covina's Kayla Mills (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy), who plays for Newport Beach-based club Slammers, was the star for the '95 girls, scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory over New Jersey in Sunday's final after tallying the opener in a 5-0 romp over Georgia in the semifinals.
Also scoring against Georgia were Mills' Slammers teammates Savannah Levin (Newport Coast/Tarbut V'Torah School) and MacKenzie Cerda (Fountain Valley/Edison HS), Legends' Meilessah Rangel (Chino/Chino Hills HS) and So Cal Infinity's Sarah Fajnor (Fullerton/Sunny Hills HS). Levin is the younger sister of Stanford All-American Camille Levin, a first-round selection in January's Women's Professional Soccer draft.
Pilar Torres, from Encinitas in San Diego County, scored all three goals for the '96 girls in victories over Florida (2-1 in the semifinals) and Virginia (1-0 in the final).
Both boys teams bounced back from shutout losses in the semifinals to win third-place games.
Arsenal FC's Jose Nuno (Adelanto) and Joshua Goodman (Apple Valley), teammates at Oak Hills High School, and Fullerton Rangers' Ricky Ruiz (Lake Elsinore/Lakeside HS) scored in the '95 boys' 3-0 romp over Virginia. Olimpica United's Marcos Bueno (San Fernando/San Fernando HS) tallied twice in the '96 boys' 3-1 win over Tennessee, with Rey Ortiz, from San Diego, netting the other goal.