South Bay soccer club is Force to be reckoned with

South Bay soccer club is Force to be reckoned with

Mike Mitchell DAILY BREEZE

When Peter Gail took over the reins of the Force Soccer Club under- 12 Gold boys soccer team, he knew it was good.

Gail also knew he would have the opportunity to see if his style of coaching would be effective.

The team tracked its progress on a Web site, gotsoccer.com.

The Web site ranks teams all over the nation based on how successful they are in tournaments.

The team started the summer ranked No. 7.

Wins in several prestigious tournaments moved the Force up in the rankings, and before the end of the summer, the team became the No. 1 team in the country.

“They were really excited (when they found out),” Gail said. “They realize now, playing at the Gold level, that in every game we play we now have a target on our backs. Everybody knows we’re the top-ranked team in the country and they’re coming at us with everything they have.”

The Web site weighs tournaments based on strength. The tougher they are, the more points are awarded.

The Force spent the summer winning many tough tournaments. The team won championships at the Southern California United Nike Invitational, the Cerritos Memorial Challenge Cup, the Slammers Classic, the Orange Classic and the Premier Elite N.H.B. Classic.

League games also count toward the rankings. The Force team is 4- 1 in the Gold bracket of the Coast Soccer League — one of the toughest brackets in the country.

“We beat another team from Southern California (to become the top- ranked team),” Gail said. “They were always shooting for something and now that they’ve captured that, it’s something they want to hold on to. I ask them about what they have to do to keep it and they want to train even harder to stay there.”

Gail, who is an assistant coach at LMU, brought with him a coaching style he calls the “PG Method.”

With the help of assistant coach Danny Pena (a former Galaxy player) and club director of coaching Shelley Marsden, Gail is attempting to fuse the Dutch ball-control style with South American flair.

“It’s something I’ve created through my years of training,” Gail said. “I’m still learning as much as I can. As my players grow, I’m trying to be the best coach I can. The team and myself still have a long way to go. We have by no means reached our goal.”

Most of the Force players are from Torrance and many figure to play at Torrance schools, but Gail said he is proud that some players travel great distances just to play for the Force club, which practices at South Park in Gardena.

There are players from Pacific Palisades and Studio City.

The next goal for the Force is to win the State National Cup, which takes place in the spring.

If it is successful, the team will advance to the national tournament.

The team also hopes to be invited to play in the Dallas Cup. The Dallas tournament is open only to the top 16 teams (in each age group) in the world. Gail said the Force should be invited.

“It’ll take a lot of fund-raising, but it’s something the kids have dreamed of,” Gail said.

The team includes: Vincent Paldino, Fernando Villasenor, Williams Nieto, Alex Hong, Jacob Speckmeyer, Nicholas Gomez-Garcia, Lucas Cespedes, Felipe Simas, Matt Mardecich, Jackson McCracken, Kevin Garcia-Lopez, Kevin Alva, Fabian Arroyo, Alejandro Patino and Scott Cohen.

Copyright Copley Press Inc. 2004

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