Sahuarita youth soccer teams showed a big presence in Tucson on Feb. 14-16 at the Jacobs Classic, with seven teams taking first place and another coming in second.
Michael Spear, Billy Petty and Daniel Quintero coach the RSL-AZ Sahuarita 10 Boys Petty-Red, White and Blue teams.
Spear attributed the success to Sahuarita having an active program that attracts players from surrounding areas like Nogales and Tucson.
"Instead of going to teams and clubs that are closer to them, they're willing to travel to Sahuarita to be a part of the programs that we've put together," he said.
The Boys Petty-Red and White teams came in first, and the Blue team came in second at the tournament; 164 teams competed in different age groups.
The Jacobs Classic had teams from Arizona, out of state and Mexico competing.
The other RSL Boys teams who took first place in their competitions were 10 Boys Barrera-White, 9 Boys Ordaz, 7 Boys Petty and 05 Boys Dachtyl. The Renegades Sahuarita Dynamite 07G girls soccer team took first place as well.
Spear said it was strange and impressive to have so many teams from the same small town take the top spots in eight groups. He said the multiple wins showed the rising quality and popularity of club soccer in Sahuarita.
"I think that soccer is an easy way to pick up a sport, especially when you're younger," he said. "It evolves with good coaching, not only to teach them the rules but also to teach them to work together."
Spear said the success of the youth program also affects local high school programs.
"The success is in the numbers," he said. "We just had a big tournament where so many teams from Sahuarita won, and these kids are feeding into middle and high school."