By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
With a hard work ethic and determination, the Hurricane 14-U (ages 14 and under) recently captured the U.S. Club Soccer Boys National Championship, becoming the first soccer team in state history to ever win a title of any kind in club soccer.
Coached by Christian Porta and made up of players now in eighth and ninth grade, the Hurricane won the championship with a 2-1 win against the Phoenix Rising FC, on July 14 in Aurora, Colorado.
“Our mentality was to work hard and when you work hard, you see the fruits of your labor,” Porta said. “Those kids worked really hard. I kept telling them since the beginning of the season, ‘If you work hard, good things come your way. Just keep working, keep believing, keep proving yourself,’ and we did it. I think everyone on our team really understood their roles. Everyone did their part – whether it was a player who played the whole game, or a player who play limited minutes – everyone played a part. I think that was a big reason for the team’s success. Everybody felt like they were important to the team.”
The Hurricane was one of 16 teams from across the country to compete in the playoffs. They played their first two round games in San Diego before playing their semifinal game and the final in Colorado.
“As far as being the first team from Oklahoma, I think it makes those kids proud to be where they are from,” Porta said. “When we won the game, what the kids were saying was ‘coach, the trophy is coming home.’ That’s what they told me. So, it’s about those kids and the hard work they’ve put in.”
The Hurricane includes players such as Ian MacIntosh, son of University of Tulsa men’s soccer coach Tom McIntosh and a freshman at Jenks; Kaiba Tiem, a freshman at Broken Arrow; and Brody Adams, a freshman at Bishop Kelley.
“It was kind of hard to believe that we were first in the nation when we won,” said Adams, who had an assist in the semifinal game. “But everyone was celebrating. It was a close game though, we didn’t know we were going to win until the final whistle blew, but once it did, everybody started going crazy. It was so unreal.
“Oklahoma is not really known for soccer, so getting a national championship for not only our club, but for the state, is amazing,” Adams added.
In one of its games in San Diego, the Hurricane had to rally from a 2-0 halftime deficit to win 3-2. They scored their first goal early in the second half before scoring two goals in the final four minutes.
“We have very talented players,” Porta said. “But, what got them to the championship was no secret – drive, perseverance, grit, always believing.”
Getting to the championship, Porta said, was not just the work of the coaches and athletes but many others as well.
“The parents of the club and previous coaches were also a big help,” the coach added. “I inherited a really good team. There was a lot of people that were part of this championship even though I was the one to coach them this year. They all deserve recognition just as much as I do, if not more.”