BAKERSFIELD — A small-town team is about to play on a very large stage, as the Paso Robles U12 Girls All-Star Team took 1st place at the Section 10 Championship in Bakersfield, qualifying them for the Western State Championship in Arizona.
The Paso Robles U12 Girls All-Star soccer team won the Section 10 Championship on Feb. 23 at the Kern County Soccer Complex, sending them to the Western State Championship in Bullhead City, Ariz. Mar. 14-15.
The top sixteen U12 Girls All-Star Teams from Section 10 arrived in Bakersfield over this past weekend. The teams were broken down into four groups for pool play and the Paso Robles U12 Girls All-Stars had a tough draw as their lineup contained Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks, and Quartz Hill. The girls in crimson tied in their opening game to Thousand Oaks 1-1, their first tie of the season, and that would be as close as any team in the tournament came to knocking off the future Bearcat girls.
Paso Robles won their next two games by a combined score of 8-2 to win their pool advancing to Sunday and the final four teams where they faced Tehachapi in the semi-finals and battled to a 1-0 victory.
“We knew our girls could play with any team that was at the tournament, but anytime you step into a championship game you get nervous,” said head coach Scott Bump.
The Paso Robles U12 Girls All-Stars faced Woodland Hills in the finals and due to an early breakaway for Woodland Hills found themselves down 0-1 at the end of the first quarter. Paso Robles controlled the field, had numerous scoring opportunities, and finally tied the game 1-1 just before halftime.
“We knew we had to make some adjustments at halftime,” said assistant coach Allison Kimpton, and it worked. Paso Robles scored their second goal in the third quarter off a corner kick, making the score 2-1, and what would end up being the deciding goal. As champions of Section 10, the Paso Robles U12 girls all stars have punched their ticket to the Western State Championship.
“We are very proud of how the girls played this past weekend,” noted Kimpton smiling. “They were matched up against some of the best teams in the State and proved they deserve to play on a big stage. We don’t depend on just one impact player like so many teams do, each girl on our team contributes every game, they’re all impact players, it’s so fun to watch their chemistry on the field. They don’t quit, they dig deep, and play for the girl standing next to them, again, it’s special to watch.”
The Paso Robles U12 Girls All-Stars outscored their opponents 12-4 in their five games during the Section 10 Championship. “We know they are a good soccer team, but when they take the field they exceed our expectations every time,” said Bump. “They play unselfishly, move the ball around the whole field, work from whistle to whistle, and know how to play to each other’s strengths. Our forwards and mid-fielders work together to create scoring opportunities, our defense rarely lets the ball cross center field, and our goalkeeper stops it when one happens to get by. They are a complete team.”
“Now the competition steps up again as we look to Western State,” said Bump. The Western State Championship will only takes the top four teams from Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Bump noted, “No U12 Girls All-Star Team from Paso Robles has ever made it this far, this is a special group of girls, and to be one of only four teams from six states is quite an honor. Our goal is to take another first-place coming up on March 15.”
The Bearcats run started when they selected their team in November with a pair of tryouts before they played their first games in the Paso Grape Crush Tournament, which they won. The tournament win was the first of many as the Bearcat girls have steamrolled their way to first place in six of the seven tournaments they entered. Entering the Western State Championships, the U12 all stars are 26-3-1 on the season.
“This team definitely has the talent and skill to keep going,” said Kimpton. “We’re going to do all we can over the next three weeks to have them ready to go. But, the best part is, they will do the work, we will just be there to coach and encourage them along the way. They are driven and hardworking girls who push one another, they’ll be ready for Western States.”
The team is comprised of 11 girls in Kayla Carbajal, Sky Dawsey, Amayah Buenrostro, Julia Cox, Danica Bump, Genesis Gavilanes, Sadie Fletcher, Mireya Soltero, Jillan Kimpton, Kimberly Hernandez and Addison Blake.