LIVING A DREAM – THE RANCHO CUCAMONGA FLAMES BRING HOME THE KNOXVILLE NATIONAL GAMES GOLD

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There was once a moment in time when all was perfect in the world that you and I live in, this soccer world we breathe morning, noon, and night. And this world surrounds 16 magnificent Flames, our sons, whose story began January 2012, a soccer team formed by Coaches Wayne, Ari, and Kyle, made up of friends, former teammates, some first to this group of fighters. They exceeded their goals and wishes and desires for this 2012 Select season, outstandingly, and blew into the sky all expectations held, as you have read in the pages before you.

But then they were given an invitation to the 2012 AYSO National Games in Knoxville, Tennessee. And they were handed this opportunity to set their world on fire further, a chance to burn into dust the out-of-state competition and to show their colors to the world, a chance to capture the dreams of their young lifetime. No way would they turn it down. No way would they fail. And this is where a season of amazing, perfect success, something so beautiful, now becomes something mind-blowingly gorgeous. Something miraculous. This is the stuff dreams are made of. This is an experience of a lifetime. These are memories we will never let go.

This is crazy. This is unreal. This is it. THIS IS NATIONALS. 

“I’m gonna show you how great I am.” Muhammad Ali

They arrive at LAX in their white limousines. Check themselves in, holding their lives in black bags over their shoulders. They board. There’s now three rows of Flames sitting in the back of Delta Redeye Flight 2354 departing LAX at 10:40 pm on July 1, 2012, en route to Atlanta, Georgia. The plane engine roars, the wings grind to awakeness, and the steel bird leaves Gate 68B. She reaches the strip and immediately thrusts in speed…and then soars.

A Flames arm and fist rise into the dark airplane cabin air. Another joins. Then another. Touching. All of them. High. Then, quietly, “One, two, three, Flames” is chanted. And they’re off. Into the Los Angeles night air. United. To conquer their world. To bring home the gold.

“Brother, what we do in life echoes into eternity.” Maximus Decimus Meridius, Gladiator

On Day 1, we landed in Atlanta at 6:00 am and took off in our four-van caravan for Tennessee. It was a catch-up-on-sleep, four-hour drive with stops at KC’s Corner Restaurant and Sonic Burgers. In the old-boned, strikingly historic countryside — where gas was, for once, really, really cheap — we met a lonesome, hungry, bagel-loving dog friend and took some photos at the stateline of Georgia and Tennessee.

Once we arrived in Knoxville and checked into our hotels, Flames filled their afternoon at the Marriott with swimming pyramids and belly flops, Mexican food for dinner, and topped off this beginning adventure with the most crazy lightning, thunder, and rainstorm these Cali boys have ever seen. Well, that is until Day 4.

“We are family until July 8th. I would like to say welcome to my family.” Section 5, host for the 2012 National Games, Opening Ceremonies, July 3, 2012.

On Day 2 in the morning, Flames entered the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, checked themselves into the National Games, took a terrifically unique team picture, brought in some Pizza Hut, swam until exhaustion, played a little Chancho and Mafia poolside under our Flames Gazebo Hub for the week, and were welcomed into Knoxville, Tennessee, with a fabulous three-hour Opening Ceremonies at the ginormous Thompson-Boling Arena at the University of Tennessee. It was great to see our Flames on the Arena floor, banner raised high and carried dancingly proud by Isaac. You could feel the excitement in the air as you saw team colors abound and heard the welcoming words of our hosts.  

Day 3, the 4th of July, started early with Soccerfest at John Tarleton Field, where Flames and Noah were split up and placed on opposing teams to play friendly games with their U16 competition. It was great to see smiles and laughter among Flames and players all over the USA in this U16 division as they shared their stories while developing teammate trust with one another. This was a good time for Flames to become adjusted to the hot and humid fields, set their limits on exhaustion, and relax, breathe, and enjoy the company of young men that were all here with one goal in mind. Flames shared stories about themselves and their team. Little did our new buddies know what these kind, humble, California boys had in store for them. In the evening, Flames took over the Knoxville Zoo. It was a good change of scenery for us, and it was cool to see what all the Panda-Monium was about — a beautifully active, small red panda. Flames were in bed early for this 4th of July and had some firework viewing from the hotel. Tomorrow the games were to begin. And we were set on being rested and prepared. It was now time to make some pandemonium of our own and take on the next three days of pool play, encompassing five games. This is what we came here for. This is our dream. It was time to take care of business. It was time to suit up, warm up, and set our world on fire. 

Day 4, for the start of pool play, we arrive back at John Tarleton Field with so much intensity, so much seriousness. These Flames were in complete lockdown concentration on what needed to be done, how they needed to play, and how they were going to make it happen. What an amazing thing to see. It was hot and fiercely humid, conditions we had never played in. So to keep our Flames from overheating, Mike became our water boy and supplied the boys with cold, iced towels and a good spraying from a yellow industrial sprayer.

In Game 1, Flames played Utica, Michigan, at 9:15 am. At one minute, 18 seconds into these Nationals, Cooper gets the first goal. Nick takes a corner and Isaiah kicks it in for Goal 2. Then Aiden assists as Coop claims Goal 3. Goal 4 is all Luis’ with an assist from Isaac. It’s 4 to 0 at halftime. Flames were here to make a statement from the start and there was NO LETTING UP. “Thank you, Team,” states Coach Ari. Proudness was in the air. This was our team. And people were starting to notice. In Quarter 3 of Game 1, we lost Luis for the rest of this tournament due to an ankle injury. It was heartbreaking. It was imperative we remained healthy, and all Luis wanted to do was play. We continued on. AJ shot Goal 5 with an assist by Phil. Then Phil claimed Goal 6 and then 7 with an assist by Chris. Our statement was made, 7 to 0, and we were ready to keep on writing.

Game 2 was at 2:45 pm against Round Lake, Illinois. We made our mark before halftime hits as Phil shoots Goal 1 with a Nick assist. Goal 2 is shot by Nick while AJ assists. Next AJ assists Phil with Goal 3. And then wonderfully Aidan is played forward and scores Goal 4 with help from Assistant King AJ. We led 4 to 0 at halftime and the beating continued as Mauricio shoots Goal 7 with Nick’s pass, and then Ivo ends Illinois’ misery with Goal 8 and a final score of 8 to 0. And there we were at the end of Games 1 and 2 with two confident victories, two shutouts, and a bunch of sizzling, stoked Flames, ready to do this, one great game at a time.

But there’s never a dull, rarely relaxing moment in the life of Flames. For dinner after Games 1 and 2, Mike and I picked up delicious Buddy’s BBQ, 43 individual chicken and pork dinners with 2 quarts of beans and corn on the cobb. And Dennis and Bonnie had purchased drinks for everyone, all kinds of beverages for the evening. Everything was laid out nicely on the table, poolside, waiting for at least half of our Flames Family to arrive. And then eerily the skies became a little grayer and the wind ever so gently blew the styrofoam dinners a bit, and then blew stuff a little more, and then a little bit more after that, and then a flippin’ lot, and all of a sudden we’re in a gosh darn 90-mile-an-hour monsoon of a lifetime and our Flames Family dinners are heading for the pool and beyond. All I heard was Mitch and Mike calmly saying, “We better take this inside,” and then screaming “GO, GO, RUN, GET INSIDE NOW!!! ” All I saw were dark clouds, a something-alive type whirlwind of leaves and branches and towels, a gazebo shaking, hanging plants swirling, and the look of terror on, again, Mitch and Mike. All I thought was I GOTTA SAVE THIS DAMN FOOD. All of the food for all of my Flames Family. And also that I needed my purse. Yes, my purse. But all I did was run. I did as I was told and I ran. Inside. And then something great happened. All of those brave Flames men saved the night, fought the storm, and brought all of the salvaged food inside, some of it mixed up, some of it crushed in, but all of it was there, sans about five dinners and a whole slosh of BBQ beans on Chay. I don’t know how they did it because I was in whatever they term medical shock, really. Three giant windows blew out of the Marriott about nine floors high. The power went out around town. We gave our leftover corn to another team who had no luck finding dinner that night. We survived. Thankfully nobody was hurt. And the Flames ended up doing what they love to do and do best, besides soccer: A little freestyling, droppin’ rhymes, droppin’ beats, and an ELEVATOR PARTAY does a body good, all of it on the hottest day ever recorded in Tennessee.

Day 5 begins with Game 3 at 8:15 am against Quartz Hill, California, with an hour earlier whistle to help with the heat. The goal scoring starts with Phil on a pass from Cooper. Before his corner, Nick calls out “Ish,” who then heads ball into net to get Goal 2. AJ assists with an another Isaiah goal for Goal 3, and Phil scores on his own in Goal 4. AJ gets his goal with Isaiah’s pass for Goal 5, and when all is said and done, Flames pound Quartz Hill 5 to 0. There was a little girl from Quartz Hill sitting on a swing set up above the field during this game, and she was having a fun time copying our chant, “Let’s go, Rancho, let’s go!” but changing it herself to, “Let’s go, Quartz Hill, let’s go!” Little did we know she would become one of Flames’ biggest fans in a few days.

Game 4 began at 1:45 pm versus Foster City, California, and this would be one of our hottest games in Tennessee. During the final quarter of the game before us, two players had fallen from heat exhaustion and were carried off the field. We were concerned for our boys. And our opponents too; so Mike sprayed them down before the game as well. How would the Flames handle this 90-plus degree heat with humidity under the hot sun while running for their dream? Just fine, actually: Ian assists in Goal 1, achieved by Isaiah, AJ assists in Goal 2, achieved by Cooper, and AJ assists again in Goal 3, achieved by Isaiah. It’s like a mix-and-match game of Flames here. But they had done it. 3 to 0. Two days of pool play, four games, all incredible shutouts, all managing the weather conditions, all of it perfectly done. Even the center ref thought all of that water spraying was pretty cool and joined in being sprayed with Austin, Isaac, Phil, and Isaiah lying in the middle of the field at halftime — one of the most surprising and memorable moments of these good times.

So as a team, not only do we find all of this two-day success completely believable because, well, you know, we’re kinda thugnasty, but it’s also unbelievable in a “Is this really happening?” kind of way. IT IS HAPPENING. And our newfound friends in the South, well, they were starting to ask questions about the California kids:  “Where are you guys from?” “My coach says all you guys practice is one touch.” “You guys really know how to pass the ball.”

On the morning of Day 6 before Game 5, I open my fortune cookie in the car and it states this:  “A dream you have will come true. Lucky Numbers 3, 56, 32, 38, 25, 42.” I place it on Andreas’ back on his red jersey above his number 15 and take a picture.

On Day 6 in Game 5 at 8:15 am, Flames played in their final pool play game rivaling Monrovia, Alabama, and AJ did all the assisting — Isaiah scored Goal 1, Aidan scored Goal 2, and Christopher scored Goal 3, all of it ending in another 3 to 0 shutout.

So here we stood, first in pool with a perfect score and some absurdly high number in pool play points way, way, way above the rest of the competition. It was now time to play our quarterfinal this afternoon at 4:00 pm against, who else, but Chino Hills, California. Yes, the Chino Hills of all my previous posts in torment. Yes, the Chino Hills team who lay under the misery of their coach mentor. And as Flames met at 3:00 pm and looked into the woods surrounding Tommy Schumpert Soccer Complex, we came to the realization that this perhaps could be our last game played together. And the fact that this rival could be our last was nauseating. We knew beating them was happening here, but we had to prepare for the worst scenario. Our pre-game team pep was emotional and that’s where the emotions needed to stay. Powerful, positive thoughts were spoken as we took our next step: 

“Today is just the next step for us. If we play our game, we’re the best team. I have no doubts. Good soccer, right? Good soccer. That’s it. Don’t worry about anything else. Everything else will take care of itself. We play good soccer,” states Coach Wayne.

“I’m very proud of all of you and what you guys have achieved all year. This is just icing on the cake right now. But right now it is time for you guys to give it your all. We don’t want to step back on level of play right now. You guys are the best team. You guys deserve to move forward. If something unfortunately happens and we do not get past this day, we are still proud of you guys. I am proud to be your assistant coach,” states Coach Ari. 

“Play your hardest. Do work. Don’t let them affect you guys. Play our game. Don’t let them stop us from playing as a team. Play hard. Play Rancho soccer. Let Chino Hills play Chino Hills and we’ll play Rancho soccer. Don’t worry about them. Worry about us,” encourages the Flames.

“Worry about us,” ends Coach Wayne.

And so we line up and do our Flames walk to the field for a rematch, a rematch that the Chino Hills coach blatantly states while on the field he has been eagerly waiting for for a very long time. And as we prepare ourselves on the pitch, moments later, at eager beaver’s request, we are asked to move across the field, away from our stands to “neutralize the cheering.” And although we had never heard of such a worry before, Flames did. They grabbed their bags, bench, and canopy and made their way afar, and Chino Hills moved in front of us, in front of that crazy cheering Flames Family. And then as these pre-game moments continued to pass and Flames completed their prayer and team cheer and positioned themselves on the field, we all witnessed in shock taunting from the Chino Hills coach and a few players aimed at the Flames. You don’t see this stuff in normal soccer. I mean mouths run on the soccer field, we know. But not like this. And that is when the Momma Bear Flames knew it was time to stand tall. That motherly protective instinct when you witness somebody potentially hurting your child, emotionally, well, let’s just say you don’t mess with that or else feel the wrath. And the wrath hath felt: The Flames Family cheered and yelled and stomped so loudly from the start of this game that I don’t think Mr. Talks Alot could hear himself breathe.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 do their customary high-five dance, and the I’ve-been-waiting-for-this-rematch-a-long-time-but-will-soon-regret-it game begins like a firestorm when Cooper scores Goal 1 and then does the most outstanding flip you have ever seen. 1 to 0 Flames. Then Flames are fouled in the box and Nick takes the penalty kick. I bet that Chino Hills keeper was sorry to see that famous Flames kid in front of him again. Nick shoots the ball, smashing it in the left net. Did you watch number 7’s eyes? Did you try and remember how he worked it from the Strawberry Cup? I guess it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. 2 to 0 Flames. Next, Phil has a breakaway to the goal and nobody was stopping him. He scores and of course stops any further Chino Hills words with his prancing and finger to the mouth “SHHHHHHHH…” “IT’S GONNA BE A LONG AFTERNOOOOOON!!!” yells Chay. Classic. 3 to 0 Flames, halftime. And when we returned to continue showing who’s the boss of this field, that once taunter of teenagers was now sitting on a little stool dead silent. But the Flames Family never stopped cheering and stomping and the Flames never stopped scoring. Ivo takes a corner kick, and somewhere in a mess of green and black stripes Isaiah just taps it in. 4 to 0 Flames. Flames then foul Chino Hills in the box and they get their one penalty kick goal on us. But before game end, after AJ is fouled, Nick shoots an unstoppable free kick over the Chino Hills wall, onto the low left goalpost and into the net. 5 to 1 Flames final. In the end, it’s really a sad thing. We did witness goodness on this day on this field. I saw a Chino Hills player help AJ up after a foul. Truthfully, words were spoken by some Chino Hills players and parents during the game, indicating their distress with their coach. I do believe that all these Chino Hills boys really want to do is play good, positive soccer like us. I think we inspire them. Hopefully one day they will be free to do so. 

“This is the greatest victory in the history of Region 65 Select Soccer.” Coach Wayne

SO HERE WE WERE. On crazy Cloud 9 after we had just conquered this game with so much success. We had played our game and took care of our business. It’s got to be one of the best feelings to hold in this wild adventure we shall now continue in. We secured ourselves into the semifinals, and they were semifinals at THE Regal Soccer Stadium at the University of Tennessee. I know all of us had thought about this day hopefully happening throughout our soccer season, throughout our fundraising, over days we would ponder what really lies ahead for us all. Would our boys get to the end? Or close to it? Would the Flames have that chance to walk on and play on the bright green grass of Regal?

YES, THEY WOULD. AND IT WAS HERE. IT WAS NOW.

On the evening of Day 6 at dinner, I open up my fortune cookie and it states this: “In dreams and in life, nothing is impossible. Lucky Numbers 47, 15, 22, 20, 21, 26.” I place it on Mike’s RC Flames grey Nationals t-shirt and take a picture.  

“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.” Vince Lombardi

It was Day 7 and 6:00 am. The sky was dark. Dawn had not quite broken yet as we arrived at Regal on Sunday, July 8th, 2012, for our 7:00 am Semifinal versus Hawaii’s Kapolei Hurricanes. The air smelled of smoke; there was a forest fire burning close. Next to Regal’s parking lot stood an industrial building with a plume of fire escaping from a metal flute, reaching for the sky. 

“Now, this is real.” Phil states as he steps foot on the grass.

There was a slight warm breeze. And as we walked through the field gates, it was surreal. It was huge. Green. The stands were so tall. THERE WAS A SCOREBOARD. It was perfect. We were in awe of the enormity of not only this breathtaking pitch, but of our Flames’ reality. We were going to play the game we breathe on this field. We were going to run with the wind on this grass. We were going to kick the ball into that net. There are really no words to describe the feelings we all held close that morning. We will never forget those moments in time as the inspiring warmup music played and we just stopped and took in this dream we have been waiting for for months.

And you want to know what was really cool? Probably the next coolest thing from winning it all? WE HAD A LOCKER ROOM. A big one, where we held our pep talks and played our music and visualized holding the gold. Nick wrote his free kick set play on the whiteboard; it ended up being his Goal 2 in the Championship match. Austin made our mark in this great room in dry erase: “Flames. Rancho runs this place.” 

It was now time for our semifinal. It was time to overcome Hawaii. They had come so far for the gold, but on this day, at this time, there was no taking away this next step in our pursuit for glory. In the beginning of this game, Ivo succumbs to a foot injury, and he was unable to play further today. So now, to win it all for Ivo and Luis, Cooper scores Goal 1, and by halftime we hold the Hurricanes at a 1 to 0 lead. Isaiah brings us Goal 2. Nick hands us Goal 3, and at the end of the third we hold a 3 to 0 lead. Phil shoots Goal 4 and Isaiah secures Goal 5. And there it was, a 5 to 0 semifinal win. Cris had touched the ball only one time in this game, and it was during a reset.

THE 2012 AYSO NATIONAL GAMES CHAMPSIONSHIP WAS NOW ALL OURS TO WIN.

THE LOCKER ROOM: 

Coach Wayne: “The referee was asking if we watch a lot of Barcelona tape because he said that our midfield was the best midfield he has ever seen at this age. And I agree with him. We can draw stuff out on the board all day, X’s and O’s, but it’s the John’s and Joe’s that make it happen. And that’s you guys. You guys understand the system. You play it very well. It was a great game. I’m so happy for you guys. I’m very excited for this afternoon. Amazing, Guys. They are a good team, and we tore’em apart. Tore’em apart.”

“One more, huh? ONE MORE.”

I will remember his proud face and that one finger held up, forever.

At the end of the season, before the very last game, Flames captains each choose a Flame to take their spot in the captain spotlight on the field and to perform all captain duties. AJ chose Phil. Isaiah chose Cooper. Nick chose Aidan. Well deserved, Flames.

Coach Wayne: “Keep simple passes. It’s a huge field. It plays right into our game. Keep the ball moving. Keep it quick. Don’t be standing without the ball. Keep looking for space. Go out there and play and have fun. You guys are up here right now,” indicating a hand held high. “You kicked everyone’s tails this tournament. So let’s finish it out in style. I’m very proud. I couldn’t be prouder of anyone. Great job.”

Coach Ari: “I’m proud of all of you, but I’m especially proud of the defense, how you guys stepped up. To only allow one goal, in a pk — which we don’t count. Right, Cris?”

Cris: “Nope.”

Coach Ari: “So you guys are phenomenal. Again, defense wins a championship, but it doesn’t hurt to have an excellent offensive attack and that’s what we have. We are equally balanced, there’s no doubt. It’s been a pleasure coaching you guys. This is our last game.”

Cris: “I am honored to be on this team.”    

We played Linkin Park/Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name” and we embraced, and cried. Well, the moms cried at least I know for sure. That’s what we did. Flames took an 11:00 am celebratory walk on the field with their 2012 AYSO National Games Championship rival Huntsville, Alabama, Mavericks, and we all stood for the National Anthem.

AND THEN WE WENT OUT AND TOOK THE GOLD.

Isaiah brought us Championship Goal 1 in the first quarter. Nick brought us that Newsworthy free-kick assassin Championship Goal 2 in the fourth quarter. Their names were annouced loudly over the stadium after their goals, and the rest is history. We played our beautiful soccer on this last glorious day all the way from Keeper Cris at our net to our forwards in front. We held the Mavericks scoreless, 2 to 0. We did what we’ve done from that first day on the field in Arizona along the Colorado River. Everyone was on their game in Knoxville. Everyone was prepared. Everyone gave 100 percent heart and soul into not only their Championship game, but the entire National Games tournament.

Quartz Hill forfeited their tournament friendly game to come and cheer on the Cali boys in the championship. They sat alongside us and chanted our words along with us. Sometimes they even got us going. The Flames loved it. And every time there was any move against the Flames, they were sure to let it be known. And that little girl on the swing set during Game 3 in pool play? Well, she was right along with them standing in the aisle swinging her pom-poms, this time singing, “Let’s go, Rancho, Let’s go!” We will never forget them and their camaraderie and support in the truest form. Absolutely stunning.

I cannot describe the feeling once the final whistle blew and we were officially the 2012 U16 Boys AYSO National Games Champions. I can only embrace it forever.

WE FREAKIN WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, that pretty much says it. And the boys did what boys do when they win the most important, most incredibly unbelievable tournament of their season and experience the most absolutely exciting moments in their young years of a lifetime. They yelled and jumped and embraced. THIS WAS SO BIG. THEY HAD COME SO, SO FAR, AND THEY FELT IT, KNEW IT, AND LET IT ALL GO. 

And Coach Wayne, Coach Ari, Coach Kyle, and our Team Referee Mitch, well, they were just so proud. This was their best season ever, their record-breaking seven months of dedication and success, all of it coming to this perfect, perfect ending. We are all so proud of THEM and their life on the soccer field.

The Knox News was present catching all of these awesome Championship moments: Coach Wayne and AJ’s interview, Nick’s free kick Goal 2, other plays and runs during the game, and then, in the end, Coach Wayne’s water dunk, successful this time for sure. We watched the News segment run in Knoxville that night. The next morning your victory was written in the Knox News Sentinel.

“The best team doesn’t always win. But this time the best team won.” Coach Wayne

We took our final team picture under the Tennessee Soccer scoreboard. We played “We Are The Champions” in the locker room, received our medals, took a picture holding the Daily Bulletin in the UT Lady Volunteers Soccer Team Hall of Fame room, and just downright celebrated.

Throughout this tournament, I had been keeping all of our Flames Family back home updated minute by minute and goal by goal during games through our Flames to Knoxville 2012 Facebook group page. They took this trip with us virtually, moment by moment, and it was so successful in keeping them close with us. We were able to immediately communicate with each other, and that experience is invaluable. I’m surprised we didn’t crash Facebook. I will never forget updating my friends and changing their lives forever too.

When we arrived back home, KABC Channel 7 News was waiting at LAX for you, Flames, and you shined in front of those cameras, like always. You always shine. You always will. And then they aired your segment on the 5:00 am News the next morning. The whole City of Rancho Cucamonga was watching. We made sure of it.

And finally, My Flames, it is impossible for me to write these wonderful words to you unless a fire has been lit inside me. These are words from my heart and soul, and I will tell you they come freely. They come easily. They just flow because you have lit that fire with your greatness, your kindness, your skill and strength, your heart, your beautiful souls. If you remember anything from this season, remember that you have changed the lives of others forever, the lives of your parents, your siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, your coaches, friends, strangers, the list is endless. Most importantly, you have changed your young lives and you have inspired yourselves and those close to you to achieve greatness and brilliance like you. You have challenged yourselves and you have been successful. You have achieved all your goals, those nearly impossible goals, and you have created memories of a lifetime. Like I told you near the rocks on the Colorado River that one clear, sunny day you wore black, I knew you held something special, something so unique, and I urged you to never let that go. And, of course, you never did. You never will, Flames. You will only amaze. I have been so proud to call you my team. So continue to live your life amazing us all and inspiring the world we live in. Thank you for seven months of life that I will never forget. How can I ever forget your smiles, your hugs, your sweet words, your beautiful soccer. Hey, and guess what? THAT DREAM OF OURS, IT CAME TRUE AFTER ALL. You will always be just inside my heart, waiting, until that fire is ignited once again. I LOVE YOU ALL!!

The 2012 Rancho Cucamonga Flames U16 Boys Soccer Team end their 50-game, 11-tournament season with a phenomenal 44 victories, 4 defeats, 2 ties, 30 shutouts, 168 goals, 31 goals allowed, first in pool in every tournament, 8 championships, and 3 second-place finishes.

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle — victorious. Vince Lombardi

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Courage. Simplicity. Kindness. Blog, walk & read daily. Laugh, love & breathe deeply. Live your life. ~ k
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2 Responses to LIVING A DREAM – THE RANCHO CUCAMONGA FLAMES BRING HOME THE KNOXVILLE NATIONAL GAMES GOLD

  1. I stumbled on your blog when i was looking for the National Tournament info in Tennessee. My nephew is Isaiah. I absolutely loved all the pics from the trip, and all the updates. Congrats on the Championship!

    • LiveVitale says:

      Haha! Wonderful! Isaiah is one of a kind. The light he shines and the spirit and skill he brings to this team is irreplaceable and so unique. As you can see, we love him!! Thanks for your comment and for visiting us. I hope you enjoy the story of the Flames. 🙂

      Kristi

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