BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — “Hard work pays off.” “Anything is possible.” “Why not us?”
All of those phrases are sports clichés but that’s because they all can be true.
Because they summarize a lot of team’s journeys including the Blue Devils youth soccer club here in Bakersfield. A team playing for its community but also needing its community’s support.
“Playing soccer is like a true gift, because you could just enjoy a game without nothing on your mind, and I'm traveling is pretty fun,” Eric Gaytan said.
The local Premier U-13 soccer club has been traveling quite a bit recently and also winning.
“It feels good winning like you win you gain more confidence and your game level higher,” Angel Raya said.
“They were just ordinary kids with big determination and they were able to overcome their adversity and they made it to the national championship,” Premier SC coach Tony Hoang.
A team made up of all different backgrounds yet connected by Kern County recently won a regional championship, earning a spot in the national tournament in Iowa beginning July 7.
“It’s funny when you finish a tournament they give you the option, ‘you will like to go on?’, how you can I say to a kid, ‘no’?,” Premier SC President Mauricio Lobos said.
Lobos sharing how the pandemic has been a financial challenge this season.
“All this thing happened in the last year has been a little bit hard for the families, for all of us,” Lobos said. “The community so far has been helping us out. We can’t stop and we don't want to stop.”
While this team shows its heart for the community, it needs some of that love in support to make a trip to nationals happen.
“Because we liked the sport so much and the donation really helped us to continue playing,” Angel Ceballos said.
“It’s great representing Bakersfield,” Raya said.
“Showing everyone that anything is possible,” Gaytan said.
“Why not our team from Bakersfield can be one of the best in California when one of the best of this day one of the best national wise,” Lobos said.
Exceeding expectations for the love of their town and for the sport that has already given them so much.
“For a team of this caliber of just ordinary kids to go this far, it's, it's like a dream come true for us,” Hoang said. “And I think it would send a message to all the younger generations in Bakersfield that hard work does pay off.”
If you would like to help the team as they raise funds for travel expenses, you can find more information about donating and the team on their Facebook page.