These are times of new beginnings for Lucas Kirby and Matthew Glick. Kirby, a Crossroads grad, will extend his soccer career at Yale. Glick, a Harvard-Westlake alumnus, plans to continue playing at Colgate University in New York.
But for the two Santa Monica products and their teammates in the Santa Monica United Football Club, it‚Äôs also the end of an era.
What started about a decade ago turned into one of the most decorated runs in local youth club soccer history, and Kirby and Glick are among the many players who will enter the next level with troves of memories of what they‚Äôve accomplished during their days with SMU Blue.
“Years of working together to achieve a common goal brought the Blues together and helped shape the boys to men and create many lasting memories and good lifelong habits,” team manager Steve Glick said. “It may be quite some time ‚Äî if at all ‚Äî (before) the Westside sees the likes of SMU Blue again.”
Under coach Arron Craggs, who has been at the helm since 2011, the Blues engineered sustained success at nearly every age level of competition.
They won two Coast Soccer League championships, earned two runner-up finishes in conference play and took third twice as well. From their under-15 stint to their under-19 competition they played at the league‚Äôs highest level, becoming the region‚Äôs National Premier League champion as U-17 participants.
The team known formally as B96 Blue shined brightly in tournament play. It took first place in the Las Vegas Mayors International Cup at U-15 and won the Northern California Spring College Showcase at U-16.
The Blues were invited to play beyond their own league, even defeating the academy of professional Mexican team Xolos de Tijuana in 2013.
And they traveled throughout California and the United States, consistently ranking among the top club teams in the country over the last five seasons.
“I believe success is initiated by the whole squad‚Äôs ability to be organized and disciplined in an environment (where) they are comfortable and can express themselves and have fun,” Craggs says.
Individual triumphs have accompanied the team glory. A dozen players were nominated for Olympic development play, and college programs across the nation stand to benefit from their skills.
This year‚Äôs college-bound list includes Kirby and Glick as well as Malibu goalkeeper Max Watkin, who will play at San Diego State; Los Angeles-University midfielder Alan Garcia, who is headed to Cal Poly Pomona; Harvard-Westlake striker Matthew Gooden, who will attend Loyola Marymount; Pacific Palisades product Matthew Koh (University of Chicago); Torrance resident Zach McGraw (West Point); Woodland Hills forward Kayvon Parsa (University of Redlands); Harvard-Westlake forward/midfielder Myles Pindus (Hamilton College); Campbell Hall standout William Van Zandt (Brown); Crescenta Valley midfielder Justin Wright (UC Davis); and Cal State Bakersfield-bound midfielder Sam Gomez.
Last year, former Blues player and Santa Monica resident Jonah Blume-Kemkes continued his soccer career at Oberlin.
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, email@example.com or on Twitter.