THE SIDE'S DOMINATING 2019 STATE CUP PERFORMANCE
Club's Depth, Style, Character Stand Tall
The 2019 State Cup came during Flood19. WSA Soccer had 3 facilities under water, several families without homes, and several others in the precarious situation of wondering what would be next.
Teams were forced into creative and innovate strategies to train and prepare in the lead up to State Cup '19, and the club's various DOC's were busied with saving club assets from the oncoming flood waters. The 2019 State Cup for many became a safe haven from the stress of Flood19. It was quite possibly an escape, and certainly never transcended what we all hold to be most valued and important: each other.
The Side thanks and salutes OPC and our partner OPC members for forging ahead with the event in spite of the circumstances. The outlet for many players was supreme during a time when the offerings of a game, and time with teammates in cameraderie and friendship were most needed.
Ultimately, State Cup '19 became a time to remember what is truly important: Our relationship to one another.
Former WSA '80 teammates, Pedro Colina (Coach WSA 07 Arsenal) &
Yer Yang (Coach WSA 06/07 Red) were caught hanging out together
between games. Could you fit more talent on one bench?
When the final results were tallied it was apparent that for a second straight year that The Side would be the top performing club in the OPC State Cup. The Champions Cup, which requires qualification through the regular season and features OPC's top-4 teams, and includes 16 divisions, would feature 18 WSA teams! Of those 18 WSA teams, and among those 16 divisions, 13 WSA teams would reach the State Final, with 7 claiming State Championships! In fact WSA elminated WSA in 3 semifinal matches. Championship Sunday was a sea of the WSA colors! The "Side Before Self" crosses and club badges were almost every field.
The Gold Division would also feature The Side dominating. Of the 15 divisions, The Side would be represented by a Gold State Finalist 12X, and would claim another 7 Gold State Championships!
The State Cup is always a time to commemorate an entire year's worth of work. An endeavor that began almost a full year ago can culminate in one moment. There were several defining moments, and most defy characterization by our words.
So we have allowed the pictures below to describe a few moments from OPC State Cup 19 captured by our photo team:
PENALTY KICK AT THE DEATH FOR 2002 GIRLS: Peering through the bench of the WSA 02 Girls who had just earned a penalty kick with 30 seconds to play in the second OT against Celtic 02 with a 1-1 tied match. The Side's bench looks on with nervous antcipation. It was a chance for possibly the biggest upset of the tournament and a state title. WSA would miss the pen and go on to lose in a penalty kick shootout to claim State Runners-Up. Moments like this change us. Perseverance or humility grows us stronger through the outcome. The 02's are stronger today.
WSA 04 BOYS Make it Close Again! The 04 Boys have seen chances to be a State Champion, a Regional Champion, and an NPL Conference Champion slip away in penalty kick shootouts, OT golden goals, and heart wrenching tiebreakers over a 4-year career. At the team talk at halftime of this year's State Final (the teams 3rd State Final in 4 years) the team had seen enough near misses go array that Captain Nate Weeks and Coach Alex were both intent & focused on seeing the Side through the finish line this time. And 40 minutes after this photo, they did. Winning their first, and very earned, State Championship in 2019! Headed to National Cup!
WSA 08 Girls - Girls Just a Wanna Have Fun: We aren't sure if this photo was before or after the Gold State Final which the 08 girls dropped in the waning moments. But you'd rarely know the difference with this group of fun-loving girls!
WSA 07G OKC RED & BLACK SIMULATANEOUS SEMI WINNERS & IN PENS! How do you script this? The WSA OKC 07 Girls Red & Black teams played on side by side fields. As their club mates win in pens they all meet in the middle to celebrate! Maybe once-in-a-million? Maybe just once-in-a-lifetime! Culture and great people give this moment a chance!
WSA 05 Girls Grit & Grind: Coach Rafael helps off Grace after an injury and in true form the team is simulataneously engaged in moving on to the next battle. About 30 minutes later the 05G's would get an OT winner to land the team officially from the Bronze League level to a State Champion in 18 months time! These girls define "the grind".
Max Effort! We aren't sure who each of these players are from WSA and NEOFC, but one thing is obvious, all were in "max effort" mode. With high stakes, and trips to National Cup on the line, there was an "all-in" spirit amongst all OPC teams throughout the event. The Side is thankful for the respectful and prepared opponent from OPC that requires and refines our best standard. Iron Sharpens Iron.
Last Games and Finality: The oldest WSA teams always understand a couple of important insights at State Cup: if we don't win this one, it could be the last one. And most importantly, what I just did the past decade..... mattered. Ralee Weeks, last game with The Side? This photo is literally moments after receiving the State Finalist medal and the team break-out. She began as a 7 year old about 10 years ago in the WSA Youth Academy. CORE COMPETENCY: LOYALTY. It changes the soul.
A picture of the final tallies only tells a small and insignificant part of the story of The Side's 2019 State Cup. Thank you OPC for another wonderful year! We are thankful for the ongoing relationship, the competition, and the opportunity.
Congratulations to all of our awesome and talented players, our amazing parents, our service-oriented team managers and leaders, and our super dedicated coaches for a great 2018-2019 season! You build, you impact, and you evolve forward. This is your legacy.