East County duo leads Sockers to latest indoor soccer championship

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It seemed only appropriate that in his last game as a San Diego Socker that Grossmont High School alumnus Paul Wright, the team’s ageless veteran, would score the team’s opening goal in its latest major indoor soccer championship.

“This has got to be the best feeling,” said Wright, 43, amid post-game hoopla on the arena floor of the Valley View Casino Center following the Sockers’ come-from-behind 8-6 victory against the Detroit Waza Flo March 11 in the finals of the Ron Newman Cup.

It seemed only appropriate that in his last game as a San Diego Socker that Grossmont High School alumnus Paul Wright, the team’s ageless veteran, would score the team’s opening goal in its latest major indoor soccer championship.

“This has got to be the best feeling,” said Wright, 43, amid post-game hoopla on the arena floor of the Valley View Casino Center following the Sockers’ come-from-behind 8-6 victory against the Detroit Waza Flo March 11 in the finals of the Ron Newman Cup.

“I’ve worked hard for this all year. I wanted to go out a winner and my teammates came through for me. I got the spark going and they finished it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as great as I do now.”
The world championship was the 14th overall for the Sockers franchise and the fourth Professional Arena Soccer League-Pro Division title for the current edition of the club, which resumed play in 2009.
It was the seventh indoor soccer title for Wright, who owns the distinction of having suited up for all three incarnations of the Sockers during his 26-year playing career.

The 1986 GHS grad won three Major Indoor Soccer League championships (1990-92) with the original Sockers (1978-96) and also played for the second edition of the team in the MISL II (2002-05).
He won two PASL titles with the current Sockers before rejoining the team this season to end his career. Wright’s speed and field vision have always been his best playing attributes.
His goal, a vintage soft touch shot to the inside post off a sprint with 2:05 elapsed in the second quarter, tied Monday’s PASL-Pro championship game at a goal apiece after the Waza Flo had taken a 1-0 lead in the opening quarter.

Valhalla High School graduate Anthony Medina put the Sockers (19-2) ahead, 3-2, when he scored a power-play goal with 8:45 left in the first half. The PASL-Pro title was the fourth for Medina, who had played in every game of the Sockers’ U.S. professional sports team 48-game winning streak that was snapped earlier this season. Medina admitted the Sockers’ latest championship title was the most difficult — and perhaps sweetest — to win.
“Every team sees us with a target on our backs and always gives their best effort against us,” the VHS and University of San Francisco grad said. “It’s difficult to play against these teams. They want to do everything in their power to beat us.

“It’s difficult to win anything four years in a row, so this is just as sweet as the first year.”
The Sockers held leads of 4-2, 5-3 and 6-4 in Monday’s game but were caught each time by an increasingly determined Detroit team. The Waza Flo (17-3) tied the game, 6-6, with 4:25 left in the fourth quarter.
But, with overtime looming, the Sockers reached into their magic bag for their best quality: resiliency. It was the same magic that the team used to snatch a 6-5 overtime victory from the Las Vegas Legends in the semifinals played the previous night.

Chiky Luna banked in a deflection off Detroit defender Scotty Wright with 4:04 to play and Brian Farber scored an empty-net goal with 39.4 seconds to seal the Sockers’ victory, to the delight of the 3,336 fans in attendance.
Luna scored the golden goal on a dramatic scissor kick in the Sockers’ OT win over Las Vegas.
“We worked hard for it as a team, and this is how I wanted it to end,” Paul Wright summed up. “To have it end the way we planned it all year long, it’s just the best thing in the world.”

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