The UCLA women know a thing or two about soccer.
The Bruins won a national championship in 2013 and reached the NCAA quarterfinals this past season, amassing a gaudy 44-2-5 record during that span while capturing back-to-back conference titles and outscoring opponents 119-14.
Now they’ll try their hands — er, feet — at coaching.
Players from the powerhouse program will become teachers and mentors Sunday, May 3, at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, where they will run a clinic for girls in the local region of the American Youth Soccer Organization.
The afternoon will allow some 200 kids to receive instruction from 22 players and five staffers from UCLA, co-organizer Max Subin said. The clinic is open only to girls who are registered with AYSO for fall soccer.
“The girls are very excited to meet real soccer players,” said Subin, an AYSO parent, coach and referee who works as a Beverly Hills police sergeant. “They’ve watched them on TV, but they’ll hear from them about their experience and get a chance to interact with them.”
The local AYSO partnership with the UCLA women’s program came about through a fellow parent’s connection, Subin said. To his knowledge, it’s the first time AYSO Region 20 — which includes Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Mar Vista and Venice — has held an event featuring almost an entire college team.
The clinics will be organized by age, with under-10 players receiving instruction from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and older players taking the field from 3 to 5 p.m. The cost is $15 per player.
Organizers said the sessions serve as opportunities for AYSO girls to meet role models as they develop as athletes and as community members.
The local AYSO program knows a thing or two about soccer, too.During the regular season, Santa Monica’s U12 girls went 12-1 while outscoring opponents by a whopping margin of 55-5. The team capped a phenomenal campaign by reaching the finals of the Western States Championships in March, falling to Garden Grove after ousting North Valley in the semifinals.
“What a ride for our young ladies from Santa Monica,” coach Richard Pye said.
But the girls figure to get even better with the help of a UCLA roster that features several area standouts, including Malibu product Kristiana Konkol-Mroczkowski as well as Annie Alvarado (Newport Beach), MacKenzie Cerda (Huntington Beach), Cassie Sternbach (Calabasas) and Courtney Proctor (Santa Clarita).
The Bruins’ coaching staff is led by Amanda Cromwell and also features assistant Louise Lieberman, a UCLA alumna who graduated from Beverly Hills High School.
The Bruins, who recently wrapped up their spring scrimmage schedule, will begin their league title defense in the fall. Free tickets will be offered to AYSO players who attend as a team, organizers said.
For more information about AYSO registration and the upcoming clinic, visit ayso20.org.
Photo (credit Patrick Gee / UCLA Athletics): Malibu product Kristiana Konkol-Mroczkowski and the UCLA women’s soccer team will teach skills to local AYSO youth.
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.