News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current


Four Oceanside Beach Soccer Teams Travel to Florida for National Championships

2015 National Beach Soccer Champions SoCal Legacy, from left to right: Coach Steve Citron, Mateo Citron, Lars Ecklund, James Pullara, Andrew Torres, Connor Gillespie, Israel Ramirez, Juan Nava, Eiko Rodriguez, Hayden Morrison, Jimmy Cruz, and Assistant Coach Enrique Nava

Oceanside CA— On December 10th and 11th four teams from Oceanside will be competing in Clearwater Beach, Florida at the Major Beach Soccer National Championships. This contest is an invitational tournament of champions, as each team must win or be a finalist in a series of beach soccer tournaments held throughout the country, in order to qualify to play in this annual competition. It has been hosted in Florida for the past 7 years and teams have come from California, Seattle, Michigan, Illinois, North and South Carolina, Philadelphia, New York and even internationally, from the Bahamas, to compete for the National Title.
Last year, SoCal Legacy BFC, a team from the heart of Oceanside, made the journey and were the only team representing California in 2015 – just ten players, two coaches and seven family members traveled across the country. After some hard fought battles, they returned as champions, sweeping the competition, punctuated by winning the final 5 to 1. They arrived back in San Diego the following Monday without a bunch of fanfare, television news coverage, press releases or any kind of media hype. These are just some humble kids from Oceanside leaving their mark and having some fun along the way.
Well, as the story goes, news of their championship win spread throughout the various schools that the players attend, and soon several teams emerged with the desire to also compete on the sand at a national level, but not knowing exactly where to start. They all needed some guidance related to navigating the qualification tournaments and advice on how to organize for fundraising and prepare for such an endeavor. “This was the impetus for starting SoCal Beach Soccer Club”, said Steve Citron, President of the club. “There are a lot of traditional grass [soccer] teams out there that want to play beach soccer, but need help getting plugged into the tournament circuit.”
“SoCal Beach Soccer Club formed just over a year ago to help promote and facilitate the sport of beach soccer. It provides a platform for our talented youth players to grow in the sport and in life”, said Cesar Olmedo, Vice-President of the Club. The first major task for the club was to assist the local teams that wanted to compete at the Nationals this year. “We held a lot of meetings and exchanged a ton of e-mails sharing what we had learned from last year during the SoCal Legacy trip, so that the other teams could leverage that experience”, said Citron, who is also the coach of Legacy.
Each team worked very hard at raising the funds needed to pay for their airfare, entry fees, lodging and other expenses. Lasting friendships and memories have been created along the way. Each team has a history, their own story if you will – that gives them their own personality as follows:

Crown Heights & Swap Meet playing in the BU18 division

Crown Heights- Oceanside High School

Crown Heights made their debut winning the Oceanside beach soccer tournament in 2015 and are coached by Francisco Flores. Most, if not all, of these players are Oceanside High School seniors that also play on their school’s varsity soccer team and many play for an elite Oceanside Breakers competitive team. These players hail from the neighborhood of Crown Heights in Oceanside and are supported by the Crown Heights Community Resource Center, which specializes in providing programs and opportunities for our young men and women, to help keep them on the path to success. For more information on Crown Heights see our past stories here:

Swap Meet

Swap Meet- El Camino High School

Swap Meet made their debut winning the Oceanside beach soccer tournament in 2016 and is coached by Sergio Mora, who also coaches at El Camino High School. This team is made up of some life-long friends that to some, seem more like family members than friends. Many of these young men have played soccer for El Camino High School, Vista Storm and Oceanside Breakers and most, if not all are also seniors at El Camino High. Former Oceanside coach Armando Maini coached several players from this team, both on the grass and in the sand, prior to his passing in 2011, but his oldest son Luca carries the torch for his father and seems to be the glue that still holds this team together after all these years. Like Crown Heights, there is a lot of history and stories here, more than what can be covered in this article, but the bottom line is both of these teams are poised for an El Classico match-up in Florida, where we could see two Oceanside teams, both from rival high schools, battle it out on the white sugar sand of Florida’s beaches for the BU18 National Beach Soccer Championship, but before that happens they will have to win against teams from Chicago, New York, and Miami.

SoCal Barcelona

Also an Oceanside Beach Soccer Tournament winner, SoCal Barcelona has been playing together for a number of years, traveling the local beach soccer tournament circuit with SoCal Legacy. This team was originally founded by Coach Arturo Michel, who is now coaching a beach soccer team named Oceanside United out of the SoCal Beach Soccer Club. Cesar Olmedo, Richard Nevarez, and Gonzalo Marquez now represent the coaching staff for Barcelona. Cesar and Richard are also board members of SoCal Beach Soccer Club and former recreational coaches for the Soccer Club of Oceanside. These three gentlemen stepped up to take over the coaching duties for the team after Coach Michel’s departure earlier this year. Barcelona has won several championships throughout the past three years, but this will be their biggest test yet, as they face off against several Florida-based teams for the BU14 National Beach Soccer Championship.

SoCal Legacy

Coached by Steve Citron, a long-time recreational coach out of the Soccer Club of Oceanside, Legacy originally consisted of all recreational players when it formed back in 2013 and has played up and down the California beach soccer circuit every year since. They are a hybrid team consisting of players from Mission Vista, OHS, El Camino, and Tri-City Christian, who also play club ball with Vista Storm and Oceanside Breakers. Although they qualified for Nationals back in June, they originally did not plan on participating in this year’s competition, but after seeing that so many other Oceanside teams were heading to the competition, they decided that they were not going to miss out on the action – so they entered the contest at the last minute, to take a shot at grabbing the national championship for second time. “We do not have our entire starting line-up from last year, but that’s not going to stop us from competing with all the other Oceanside teams there”, said Citron. For more information on SoCal Legacy please see the following past stories:,,
“The beautiful city of Oceanside is a community filled with families that are absolutely passionate about soccer and we have the natural resources and perfect year-round weather that is conducive to produce exceptional beach soccer players, potentially capable of playing for the national team”, said Citron.
“Last year there was one team and 19 people. Now, one year later, we are seeing a beach soccer club form to help support 4 teams, and close to 80 people from Oceanside, make the trek to Florida to compete for national championships. We have come a long way in only a year and are looking forward to what’s to come in 2017” said Olmedo.
We will report back the each team’s progress as the weekend progresses.
For more information about SoCal Beach Soccer Club please go to:

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Four Oceanside Beach Soccer Teams Travel to Florida for National Championships