Age-group teams in the Sporting San Diego youth soccer club began returning to the practice pitch in June once the state and county cleared the way for sports day camps to open.
“It has been very hectic staying on top in all the new protocols,” Sporting San Diego director of coaching Joaquin Huertero said. “We are doing are best to adjust but great to see the kids out there again.”
Sporting San Diego’s home base is located at Helix High School.
Huertero serves as head coach of the school’s boys soccer team that won the 2020 San Diego Section Division II championship.
“We have an amazing relationship with the school and we would like to thank Damon Chase (Helix athletic director) for giving us a home there,” Huertero said.
Huertero helped found the program in 2015 with Lisa Mueller, Jim Franco, Hugh Montgomery, Daron Schwartz and John Ortiz.
Ages offered include boys and girls 6-18. While based in La Mesa, the club serves youth all across East County.
For players ages 4-8 who are new to the sport, or looking to expand their base of soccer knowledge, the club offers free training at various times throughout the year. Players between the ages of 7-19 who are looking for a more competitive experience, can play on one of the competitive club teams for boys and girls.
Sporting San Diego plays in multiple leagues that include, San Diego Development Academy, Presidio League, California Regional League and National Premier Leagues.
Sporting San Diego age-group teams have won numerous tournaments over the past year, including the Carlsbad Coastal Classic, West Coast Classic, United Summer Challenge, Notts Forest Labor Day, Pegasus Cup and Encinitas Cup.
“Our playing philosophy is simple: to play a possession-based style while never losing sight of going forward,” Huertero said. “The object of the game is to score goals; we just try to do it with as many people involved as possible on the field.”
With the declaration of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in the spring, Sporting San Diego suspended all training and games. However, Huertero said the club was very active online with all teams.
“Team meetings, player challenges and game day film sessions have all become the new normal as of late,” Huertero said. “We check in with our players as often as we can and want them to know we are here for them regardless if we do not see them. We are optimistic that we will be back to training soon but we are dedicated to keeping our players busy until then.”
Huetero said the mission of Sporting San Diego is “to foster and develop the physical, mental and emotional growth of San Diego youth through the sport of soccer.”
“Sporting San Diego strives to maintain a safe and creative environment where athletes may express themselves on the field without consequence, while staying true to the core values of integrity, leadership, respect and teamwork,” he noted. “The goal of the Sporting San Diego staff is to always focus on the ‘person’ as much as the ‘player.’ We are committed to improving the technical and tactical side of the game for each player, but also teach them ‘lessons’ that will go beyond the soccer field, enhancing self-esteem, promoting self-confidence and cultivating a lifelong passion for the game of soccer.”