Photo by Elaine Kaplan

AYSO STORM: The Santa Monica Storm won the 2022 AYSO Western States Championship this month, making them the top AYSO 11U team across six states. 

The Storm play at the highest level of AYSO, in the EXTRA program, representing Santa Monica against top soccer teams from other geographic regions. The local team has remained undefeated the entire season, over 20 games, starting last August and finishing on March 12, when they won the AYSO Western States Championship.

The Western State Championship is the finale of the AYSO soccer season, in which over 180,000 youth soccer players compete in six different states, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Teams from all six states competed in several playoff rounds to earn one of only four spots for each age division at the Western State Championship. 

At the Championships, held near Gilroy, California on March 12, the Santa Monica AYSO team won their semi-final game, and then went on to the finals to defeat their Orange County opponent, 4-2, in overtime, to earn the title of Western State Champions.

Santa Monica AYSO is the largest community youth sports organization in Santa Monica, serving 1,500 kids. It is a non-profit organization, run entirely by volunteers. 

This team is made up of some special Santa Monica athletes:

Mos Boatright-Simon (goalkeeper, left midfield, and left defender). Landon Broihier (right midfielder). Jonah Craig (center defensive midfielder).  Ryan Drew (right defender). Daniel Freidman (goalkeeper, defender and striker). Noah McLaurin (center defender). Alex Mehringer (center midfielder). Taylor Moore (striker, midfielder and defender). Michael Peterson (left defender). Jai Robins (center defensive midfielder). Leo Simon (left midfielder). Auden Steiger (striker). 

This team was led by two volunteer coaches, Erik Saltmarsh and Melinda Mehringer, who donated their time to teach these boys how to play like Champions.