It will come to an end later this month. It could come in a loss at any point during the knockout stage of the National Cup or with a win in the championship game of that same tournament. But the run of Santa Monica United's most successful girls team in club history has, at most, a handful of games remaining.
"It's bittersweet," head coach Fabian Amezaga said about his G98 Premier squad. "But I look forward to hearing what they do next."
What they've done so far will not be soon forgotten.
Last fall, they became the first SMU team (boys or girls) to win a League Cup title. This accomplishment came fresh on the heels of a fourth-place showing in the premier division of CSL -- the highest finish ever by an SMU girls team.
According to their coach, brains, not brawn, was the biggest key to the team's success.
"It's a very smart group of girls," Amezaga said. "Their soccer IQ is off the charts."
And they'll get to use it next fall, even if it's not for SMU. Ten of the team's players will be playing college soccer at schools ranging from D-III Swarthmore and Bates to D-I University of Texas San Antonio. Click link below to see players and schools:
While they have the titles and the college offers, the team has something else. A legacy.
According to team administrator Quinn Stills, there were only two or three girls teams at SMU when this group first came together. Today, there are 15. One may ultimately have more success. But none will be the first.
"It really shows their commitment to the team," Amezaga said. "That's going to be the hardest thing to replicate. That's the part I'm going to miss.”
The arc of this team is one of the most successful of any club in Los Angeles. The team started as a bronze team and rose to Premier the highest level on CSL. Along the way the team made the finals of President's Cup, were League Cup Champions and have made it to the sweet 16 of National Cup. The players are attending colleges including Harvard, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, Emery, Hartwick, Washington and Lee, Whittier, Cal State Domingues Hills, UC Santa Barbara, University of Texas San Antonio.
G1998 Premier Roster: KAT NUCKOLS, COLETTE NOGHREIAN, HADYN PEFFER, EMILY LYON, DEZYIER JONES-MATTHEWS, ALEX SCHIRN, RACHEL PIKE, ZOE CAPANNA, AMANDA JAMARILLO, SOPHIA STILLS, LILY DRESNER, DANI MARTINEZ, MIKAYLA LERMAN, EMILY TASH, REBECCA O'CONNOR, TESS REINHARDT, LIADAN SOLOMON, BELLA ESCOBEDO
Coach: Fabian Amezaga, Assistant Coach: Robert Bahedry, Team Administrator: Quinn Stills