The AYSO Socorro Crush Youth Travel Team finished in second in the U12 Division at the Corrales Veterans Memorial Turkey Shoot Tournament November 9-10 in Corrales, New Mexico. Over 2 days the Crush amassed a record of 1-1-1 to get to the championship game where they lost to finish second overall. The Crush team competed against teams From Albuquerque, Corrales and Bernalillo. They lost to the Bernalillo Renagades in the championship game 7-0
This was the second year Head Coach Ken Watkins brought an AYSO team from Socorro to the Corrales tournament. The two day event had young ballers competing during two first day games and a final round matchup on Sunday. The squad was composed of players of all ages from multiple Socorro AYSO teams.
“This is a really fun tournament,” Watkins said. “We have great parent support and the kids are able to start self-selecting whether or not they want to continue playing soccer, which is why we wanted to participate in this event again.”
In the first game against the Corrales Cosmos a 6-3 victory was the end result for the Crush with Karol Escalona, Kyle Berger, Victor Lema and Aiden Masterson finding the back of the net. After going down 2-1 the Crush played tough defense with Benjamin Watkins, Conner Johnson, Rylan Hicks, Colin Leclerc, Izzy Gutierrez and Billy Huft teaming with Goalkeeper Jacob Angel to hold Corrales without a goal for the final 20 minutes.
The second game against the Bernalillo Renegades started as a 5-2 setback. Kyle Berger and Victor Lema scored goals in a comeback attempt that ultimately fell short with Karol Escalona and Benjamin Watkins providing assists.
On Sunday the Crush got behind to the South Valley Smash 2-0 before a determined rally led to a 3-3 draw with the Crush narrowly missing 2 winning opportunities in the closing minutes. The draw earned the crush a spot in the championship game against the Bernalillo Renegades in which the Socorro team went scoreless.
“Our kids have come a long way since we started the travel team last spring,” Watkins said. “We had a great fall AYSO season with our kids competing with and against each other. To see them come together for the travel team and play so well is impressive. Our kids showed a lot of heart and character being able to be resilient making comebacks and playing together. They all had their bumps and bruises and were tired, but they kept playing with great attitude and effort. We could not be prouder of how they competed.”
Youth soccer will continue with an indoor league headed up by Warriors Head Coach Billy Oxford at New Mexico Tech over the holiday season. Main AYSO competition will begin next spring.