After a commanding performance this past week at the AYSO Soccer National Games, the Laguna Beach boys' Under-14 Spring Select team, the Legends, captured the national championship.
Coach Silvano DiGenova, with Laguna Beach AYSO Regional Commissioner Alan Caserio as assistant coach, led the team to an undefeated record through the week-long tournament that ended Sunday at the International Polo Club in Palm Beach, Fla.
Despite two impressive wins to start the tournament over teams from Utah and South Carolina, the loss of star midfielder Alex DiGenova to a broken arm in the Legends' opening game left the team without any substitutes and worried about staying fresh in the wilting, 90-degree heat and humidity. A hard-fought victory over a strong Chino team, and easier wins over Central Florida and Pennsylvania teams, carried the Legends through pool play undefeated and into the knock-out playoff stages.
Strong performances by all the boys led to quarterfinal and semifinal victories over Grenada Hills and a team from Alabama. The game against Alabama ended in a 1-1 tie, which was won by the Legends, 5-4, on penalty kicks.