Chino Valley: Arizona Soccer Mecca for Champions

07 November 2016
GILBERT,AZ- Saturday  was a day for the record books in Chino Valley- literally.

Both the girls and boys soccer programs were battling it out for State Championship rings on the Campo Verde High School field and both came out on top, the girls 1-0 against Round Valley and the boys 2-0 over Blue Ridge.

This marked the 8th overall championship for the boys, the fourth consecutive, and the first ever for the girls in school history.

The Lady Cougars (20-0-1), helmed by Head Coach Allen Foster clinched with about 10 minutes left in the first half when senior Katie Farnsworth scored the teams solo goal.

“(Farnsworth’s shot) was fantastic,’ said Foster. “We needed to take shots, have been practicing inside the 18. We’ve been banging from out here (mid field) but not up close. She received the ball, made one cut and hit it.”

Foster, who also coaches club and youth soccer, said consistency throughout the younger levels of play has helped put together what he feels can become a strong soccer dynasty for the girls program.

“I’ve been coaching some of these girls since they were six or seven years old,” said Foster. “We’ve built it from the ground up with the younger kids and now I think people might be saying ‘who’s the Chino boys?’ Chino’s like the soccer Mecca.”

Immediately following the girls victory, the Cougar boys took the field against Blue Ridge, the only team they lost against this year. Chino entered the game with a season record of 21-1 opposite the undefeated Yellow Jackets.

Defense dominated the first half for the boys until Blue Ridge was charged with a hand ball at the goal with under two minutes left on the clock allowing Arturo Gomez to score on a penalty kick.

Gomez scored an insurance goal about mid way through the second half, but it was the Cougar defense, led by sweeper Johnny Gomez Beltran that set the tone for the rest of the game, fighting off an aggressive Yellow Jacket attack.

The fourth consecutive title for the Cougars means that for their entire prep career, the boys have only known life as champions. 

Rookie head coach Todd Carey, who served as assistant under long time head coach Jim Clark and played on the 2000 championship team for CVHS, hopes the lessons learned earning a fistful of rings will carry over to post Cougar life.

“I hope they have learned hard work pays off,” said Carey. “And this is the hardest working team I’ve ever seen, they are just so passionate. During summer we have our off season practices and I’d have 40 guys out there. If we have to cancel because of weather, they were the ones complaining. They want to be out there, they want to play, it’s phenomenal how much effort they put into it. I hope they take away that this carries over in all aspects of their life.”

Clark, who was watching from the stands, was the first and only head coach until Carey took over. Under Clark the program earned back to back state titles in 1990 and 91, 2000, 2008, and the coveted “three-peat” from 2013-2015.

How did it feel to watch from the bleachers?

“Coach Carey did a tremendous job with these guys,” said Clark. “He took over, put his wrinkles in, but most important he’s a good coach and a good person. He kept the train rolling and that’s all I wanted.”

Commenting on the girls win, Clark said Allen and assistant coach Adam Ten Berge have started what he feels will become a force to be reckoned with.

“They were tremendous today and to see them grow from year to year under Foster and Ten Berge is tremendous. They’re at the beginning of a good cycle.”

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