Local soccer players make cut for Arizona Olympic Development Team

From left beginning at top, Christian Gallagher and Aliyah Santa Maria; middle, Julian Diaz and Adelina Ortega; bottom, Daya Washington and Gustavo De La Rosa.

SIERRA VISTA — It was time to celebrate in Sierra Vista as seven local kids from the Coronado Athletic Club made the next cut for the Arizona Olympic Development Program.

The tryouts were held by the Arizona Soccer Association.

“In August, usually about 50-100 kids of the best players try out in each gender and birth year,” club co-owner Maria Maxwell said. “After the initial tryout, those numbers are reduced to 20-30 players.”

Among the players that made it to the next round of tryouts for are Jeriel Morales-Rosario, U15 boys; Aliyah Santa-Maria, U14 girls; Gustavo De La Rosa, U12 boys; Christian Gallagher, U13 boys; Julian Diaz, U11 girls; Adelina Ortega, U11 girls; and Daya Washington, U9 girls.

The Coronado players typically meet three times a week for practices at Domingo Paiz Soccer Fields and Cyr Center Park in Sierra Vista.

“We focus more on the development of the player rather than winning,” said William Maxwell, Coronado Athletic Club’s director of coaching. “Players are constantly getting touches on the ball, working on control, composure and decision-making.”

The next round of tryouts are being held over four weekends:(Oct. 24, Nov. 7, Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 18-19. Players attending the tryouts will be cut to the final 18 for each age group/gender team.

Following tryouts, a regional tournament involving Arizona, Southern California, Northern California and Washington will be held in January 2022. Players who perform at the highest level of play are identified for possible regional and/or national team pool or team participation.

The club’s philosophy is to provide an environment that offers young adults the opportunity to learn about making important life decisions.

“Obviously, winning at tournaments is great, but we are focused on players improving to the next level,” Maxwell said.

On the back of their jerseys is a Tohono O’odham tribal symbol that represents choices made throughout life.

“In life sometimes we get knocked down, but the choices we make define how we respond to adversity and ultimately mold our character,” Maxwell said.

The club typically travels to Tucson and Phoenix for tournaments with older teams traveling out of state.

Coronado shut down briefly during the beginning of the pandemic, but practices never stopped.

Players mostly met through Zoom meetings before practices began again.

“We eased back into practice as the guidance came out, and we definitely kept them engaged during the stoppage,” Maxwell said. “We sent the kids videos and made sure players got their juggles and touches in.”

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