Remember the Titans
By Eric Arana
Published: November 22, 2013
By Eric Arana
The 12U Titans accomplished what no other AYSO team in Santa Paula could, perfection.
To win league is great but when you win league and go undefeated this is not only special but also something that rarely happens in today’s 12U boys’ youth soccer. In order to accomplish perfection it takes good chemistry amongst teammates , hard work and determination. The Titans displayed every one of those characteristics.
Not only did the Titans amaze everyone with spectacular play, they put on a great show of finess, agility and of course, jaw dropping goals that had not only the parents but also the fans up in a roar and out of their seats to watch this young boys’ team perform at a high level.
The Titans combined for an amazing 79 goals in 11 games. No other Santa Paula AYSO 12U boys’ team in history has had more goals then the 2013 Titans team, averaging 7.1 goals per game. Fabian Saldana (#10) scored an outstanding 29 goals with Chris Garcia (#4) nipping at his heels scoring 26, and Armando Actitla (#7) with an awesome 18 goals. These three special young men combined for more than 90% of the teams offense making them Santa Paula’s most elite three-player tandem to ever touch the field together as teammates in the 12U age level.
In the final Championship game the Titans faced off against a tired Red Viper team. A Viper team that was taken to the brink of penalty shots to get in the final match. Facing the #1 seed Titans was not going to be an easy match. Having lost to the Titans both times in the regular season, the Vipers knew they had there hands full trying to contain a very potent fresh Titans offense. As the whistle blew the Titans controlled the tempo with ball movement and ball control, which opened up the wings where Saldana and Actitla are most dangerous. Actitla took advantage of the left wing and exposed the Viper defenders mistake and scored a beautiful left footed 30-yard shot to the upper right hand side past the goal keeper in the 20th minute to make it 1-0.
The Viper offense quickly responded and took a cannon shot from the left side of the box where Titan goalie Tim Leal #12 made a diving save, which spit back out to the middle where another Viper forward launched a volley shot to the right. Leal again dove and punched the ball out where a third shot was quickly fired back to score when all of a sudden Leal got up, dove to his left and again punched the ball down the middle of the box where it was eventually cleared out. With Leal playing lights out as keeper he couldn’t have come through for his team at a more crucial time than he did at that moment giving his team a 1-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half both teams battled to maintain control and at times got very sloppy but the Titan forward scored the second goal of the match. The ball spit back out of the goaltenders hand and Garcia was in the right place at the right time to put it in the net with a rebound touch. The game ended 3-0 and the Titans become the 2013 12U boys’ champions.