Karlowitsch strikes with instincts
BY SCOTT FRENCH / CONTRIBUTING WRITER LONG BEACH PRESS-TELEGRAM
Published: Jan. 22, 2014
Millikan High School and So Cal Blues girls soccer player Alex Karlowitsch is the reigning Moore League Player of the Year and is on to another great season.
Alex Karlowitsch's admirers, and they are legion, love what she can do with a soccer ball at her feet. They marvel over her cerebral approach to the game, her uncommon vision on the field, how she elevates the games of those around her. She can change games on her own, the most valuable commodity in the game, and then there's that shot, that rocket from distance that scorches the upper-corner netting.
Alex has some special tools. They've won her a scholarship to UC Irvine, where it's anticipated she'll make an immediate impact, and recognition as one of the best club players in Southern California. And she's at the heart of what the rising Rams are achieving – and have in their sights – in what appears to be the most promising of seasons.
Millikan is unbeaten through 17 games and is in a fierce battle with Wilson and Poly for the Moore League championship, and the Rams (11-0-6, 3-0-3 Moore) have bigger aims come playoff time. Karlowitsch, a solidly built, 5-foot-3 attacking midfielder who plays as a forward with the So Cal Blues.
Alex has been a starter since she was pulled up to varsity during her freshman year, as a goalkeeper initially, was the Moore League's Offensive Player of the Year and an All-CIF selection as a sophomore and the Moore League's Player of the Year as a junior. She is also a key player for the Orange County-based Southern California Blues, one of the nation's elite clubs.
“She has a very unique way of seeing the game,” said Larry Draluck, her coach with the Blues. “All too often in soccer, we're so results-oriented, and although Alex wants to win very badly, I think her primary focus is on the passion and the essence of the game. She's got a rare mix of competitiveness and an appreciation for technique and beauty and the essence. “One thing a coach of mine once said is that soccer is the art of deception, and I think Alex relishes that part of the game.”
Her ability to strike the ball puts fear in opposing teams. “If she gets the ball within 25-30 yards (of the goal), coaches start getting nervous. Because she can strike a ball hard, and she can put it upper-V,” said rival Wilson HS coach Kaufman. “We know when we play Millikan, we have to bottle her up. We feel that if we can take her out of the game, it exponentially increases our chances of winning.”
Draluck praises her “high soccer IQ.”
Karlowitsch has only begun to grasp the gravity of that.
“I would say it's a love of the game, really,” she said. “I always look at the game as ‘I'm always two plays ahead of everyone else.' Every time the ball is stopped, I think, ‘If I get the ball now, where am I going to play it?' My team now – doesn't matter which team – adapts to that because I know I'll always end up doing some ‘fancy thing,' as they say. “I wouldn't call it skill. It's something that was natural to me and that I could always do, and I didn't understand the whole potential of it until recently.”
Nunez is waiting for Karlowitsch to return to full strength following a late-summer knee injury that threw a huge scare into the Rams and Karlowitsch.
She banged her left knee in club ball, and the initial diagnosis was a torn ACL, enough to end her season and perhaps force a redshirt year at UCI.
She sought a second opinion, had an MRI of the knee and “the doctor felt it, looked at it and said, ‘You're totally fine,'” Karlowitsch said. “It was scary – what if we had surgery, and then there's nothing wrong?”
She was off the field for nearly three months and says recovery is “a work in progress. I feel I'm pretty close – I need to condition more, I need to strengthen more, I need to do weights. It will take, I will say, at least a month or two.”
“This is the best year I have ever seen at Millikan,” she said. “Our chemistry has improved so much, the hard work and dedication, the heart that each player has will come out in the end, and I really feel we could go pretty far this year.“
“Knock on wood, but winning the Moore League has never happened in Millikan history. We can do it.”
Come meet and acknowledge Alex's achievements as well as all the other talented 2014 graduates at the Blues signing ceremony at Rancho Capistrano on February 24.
Lolo The Chapina's Experience In International Soccer
Hey So cal Blues,
My name is Lauren Markwith and I've played for the Blues for the last six years. Currently I play for U16 Draluck.
Last year I was invited to play soccer for the Guatemalan Youth National Team. The experience started as soon as I applied for dual citizenship. I traveled to Guatemala in October to try out for the U17 WNT. I was pretty nervous going in for the tryouts. I didn't know anyone and didn't speak the language; I know that sounds funny. I tried out at the FIFA Project Goal in Guatemala City. The first day of tryouts we lifted weights for the first hour, practice for an hour, then a scrimmage. It was very new for me to do all that activity on the same day. I was so sore from weights. I remember thinking to myself, how am I suppose to practice and play...but I sucked it up and did my best. After practice I was told that I had been selected to play and travel to Jamaica to play for the CONCACAF WCQ. OMG I was so excited and nervous at the same time.
It was a very hard experience physically, mentally, and emotionally. I had to travel to Guatemala on several occasions and I learned that the culture is very different. I told my self that soccer is an international sport so that even though I did not speak Spanish fluently, everything would be ok and it was as somehow. I got the plays and was able to communicate with my teammates and coaches.
In Jamaica, Guatemala was in a group of death playing against Canada, USA, and Trinidad. Canada was tough, but it was even more difficult playing against USA as I am a USA citizen born and raised, so I had to put my emotions away. On the USA team I had a couple of Blues friends (Kat Hess and Anika Rodriguez...who is in the photo) so it was fun to play against my friends and fellow Blues players. We lost to Canada and USA, but we beat Trinidad; I scored my first international goal and had my first international assist...it was such an amazing experience I was so thankful to God, my family, and Guatemala for selecting me.
The coach then selected me to play for the U20 WCQ...OMG and a half. The qualifier was to be held in the Cayman Islands and we would play Jamaica, Costa Rica, and the USA. I had to travel to Guate on January, 1st 2014 to start training with the team. This time around I kind of new what to expect, but I also new that the girls would be older then me so I was still nervous. Both the U17 and U20 girls were so accepting of me. Their mentality is very different then the mentality of a 17 or 20 year old girl from the USA. They have a lot less then we do so they are very grounded, hard working, and humble. We played Jamaica and tied 0-0. Then we played Costa Rica and lost 1-5, and last but not least, we played USA... losing 0-10. Again I had mixed feelings playing against my own country, as deep down inside I wished that I was and/or could play for USA. Just like the first time when I played for the U17s, once the game began I forgot my emotions.
The Chapinas (a nickname for a person from Guatemala) work so hard and have so little that I bonded with them and without knowing it I found myself with the same passion of wanting to score against the USA. The Chapinas don't have individual trainers, the right type of diet, good guidance, state-of-art facilities, or the structure that we have here in the USA. They do have incredible heart and passion for futbol and life for that matter. The coaches try, but with very limited money they do what they can. While in the Caymans the team didn't have the 5 star accommodations, or good transportation, the most modern equipment to train with, but the girls never complained about anything...not once did I hear a complaint.
My teammates were all happy and grateful to be there. Overall, I learned so much on this journey. This experience has helped my soccer skills, my confidence, and my attitude. It opened a window to a view of a world where material items don't necessarily lead to happiness; rather celebrating life and the gifts we have in life become much more important.
I look forward to playing soccer in the PAC-12 some day and I also hope to continue to play for the Guatemalan WNT. I want to do what I can here at home to support my WNT teammates and the success and growth of under privileged girls soccer here in the USA and in Guatemala.
Thanks to the So Cal Blues for giving me the opportunity to play the sport I love with the passion of my heart!!!
Lauren "Lolo Champina" Markwith
Blues Coaches & Players; Success at Vanguard University
Vanguard University, located in nearby Costa Mesa, CA., just finished their regular season and ended 3rd in the highly competitive Golden State Athletic Conference with an overall record of 14-3. Vanguard also received a national rank of #10 at that time. Earlier in their season, Vanguard spent one week ranked #1 in the country. During the past 5 seasons, the Lions have been ranked in the top 5 in the country 4 out of those 5 years.
The success of the Vanguard Women's soccer program certainly cannot be mentioned in a Lime Alert without recognizing the Blues influence. Our proud members of the Lions:
- Randy Dodge, Director of Soccer, Men & Women's Programs.
- Ali Malaekeh, Women's Associate Head Coach
- Lauren Leslie, Women’s Assistant Head Coach
- Andrew May, Men's Assistant Coach
- Kelsey Arenado, Current Player
- Nikki Dunn, Committed 2014
- Erica Wadell, Committed 2014
Pictured on right is the recently installed artificial soccer field at Vanguard. The field renovation included installation of new lights, stands and futsal fields.
Congratulations to the Vanguard Lions on a great season and special kudos to the Blues coaches and players that help make Vanguard the successful college soccer program it is.
Blues players have many options when college decisions are made and it is nice to know there are many great opportunities locally like Vanguard University.
Thanksgiving Surf College Cup
Congratulations Are In Order
It is with great pleasure we announce the appointment of two Blues coaches to new positions with the club.
Randy Dodge, ECNL Technical Representative
As one of the longest-tenured senior staff coaches within the club Randy has become our Technical Representative for the ECNL - Elite Clubs National League. Since joining the Blues in 1997 Randy has coached some of the top players and graduates to come through our club. Beside being a high school (Aliso Viejo) and college (Vanguard) coach Randy has won many honors as a coach including being named the LA Times High School Coach of the Year and Student Sports Magazine National Coach of the Year.
Randy was responsible for leading the Blues' entrance into the ECNL when he recognized the importance of this league to our overall club's success and convinced us to join. Since joining ECNL 3 years Randy's teams have excelled at this high-level national competition. In his role Randy represents the Blues at all ECNL events as our technical expert and participates in the Annual General Meeting of ECNL to weigh in on program design and future development.
Don't hesitate to congratulate Randy in his expanded role within the club.
Ben Helm, Operations Manager
Ben is enjoying his third year with the club as coach of two Blues teams. Beyond coaching Ben has taken an active role in other major club activities and has served as Co-Director of Blues Cup for the past 2 years with Chris Cunningham. Ben also is a personal fitness and strength/conditioning trainer. Ben's new role as Operations Manager will expand his duties to assist club leadership in developing new programs including our planned in-house fitness, conditioning and injury prevention program. Ben is also taking an active role in improving our Ranch facilities and ensuring our fields are ready for game-day activity. Ben will assist our younger teams in recruiting additional players at the Baby Blues Academy level.
Please welcome and support Ben with his broader and deeper role for the Blues.
After three years of working on attaining and then surpassing the Blues club record of 23 straight halves without allowing a goal in official games in its own age bracket, the U14 Blues R&B ECNL team was able to finally break a record which stood intact for nine years. The record was broken during the team’s three ECNL Cross Conference games in Seattle, Washington over the weekend of Sept. 28 and 29. It has been a long endeavor, with many ups and downs, but through concentrated defensive discipline the players were finally able to match the Blues club record and then surpass it. As the halftime whistle blew at the end of their 24th consecutive half without allowing a goal, they celebrated with joy and satisfaction of this special accomplishment. The record now stands at 25 halves without allowing a goal. Go for it!
The USDWNT has a three-peat!
Chloe Rice from the GU16- Helm team, along with her teammates from the US women's national soccer team for the Deaf won its third straight Deaf Olympics gold medal on August 4, 2013 in Sophia , Bulgaria!
The team from the United States dominated opening group pool play scoring an amazing 25 goals and shutting out all four group opponents. After defeating Great Britain 5-0 in the semifinals, a determined US squad used a strong, cohesive attack to defeat Russia 2-1, in the final match to capture a record third and consecutive Gold medal.
Congratulations Chloe Rice for your hard work and success in so proudly representing our country and our club.
This Summer the U10 Rennie team took home the prestigious Surf Cup with some impressive statistics. Defensively they only allowed one goal against in five games at the tournament. The girls played their socks off with Blues determination and class. They won the championship match with a 1-0 result over The Fullerton Rangers with the Blues rostering only 9 players. As Coach Rob Rennie would say," Adverse Conditions". What a great group of young ladies, we are proud of you!
In other Surf Cup results U13 Otto came in first place in group play and were eliminated in the semifinals, U14 Bobak Rennie also took first place in group play but were knocked out in the quarterfinals, U15 Dodge fell just short of the championship going down in defeat in the finals, U17 Dodge suffered the same fate and lost in the finals while U18 Draluck were knocked out in semifinal play. Overall it was obvious our Blues did very well competing against some of the nation's top teams. Now onto Blues Cup!
Brought up by the Blues
Dana Hills grad has one last shot at winning nationals with childhood team.
BY GABRIEL RIZK ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Danielle Spriggs has been a member of the Southern California Blues soccer club for roughly half her life. The 2012 Dana Hills graduate is just a few days away from closing the book on her long Blues career with the hope that the highlight of her nine-year run with the San Juan Capistrano-based girls’ club is yet to come.
The squad is set to depart for the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which begin Monday and run through July 28 at Overland Park Soccer Complex in Overland Park, Kan., in what amounts to a last hurrah for Spriggs and the other players who have grown up together in the club.
“It’s something really special that you’ll never have a chance to do again in your life,” says Spriggs, who just finished her freshman year at Rice University. “There will never be another time in our life where we play with somebody for 10 years. College is a lot different because you’re playing with people that you’ve known for a week, and then you’re forced to all of a sudden know how they play. But club is really different, and I think everyone really loves playing together.”
The group’s ease and familiarity with each other was apparent from the time the group reconvened for its U19 run in late May. Thrown back together after being immersed in various playing styles at their respective colleges across the country, the team immediately caught fire in an undefeated run in the state cup. “I think we’ve played together for so long that it was really easy to kind of pick back up and get everyone’s chemistry again,” Spriggs said. “It took a little while, but (coach) Dido (Tshimanga) was really insistent on holding practices, which helped us a lot because it got us back into our rhythm.”
Winning state qualified the Blues for the 2013 United States Youth Soccer Far West Regional championship at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex in Honolulu, where they defeated Express of Hawaii, 2-0, on June 23 to advance to Nationals. “Going to Hawaii was pretty cool, and it was pretty fun, too,” Spriggs said. “It was awesome being able to win it and know that our club careers were going to be extended a little bit longer.”
While most of the current team has at least three or four years’ experience playing together, Spriggs, Megan Crosson, Jennifer Stanley, Ashley Doyle and Janae Cousineau comprise the core of the group that has been together since the U9 level. “This final year probably means the most to us who have been here for a really long time,” Crosson says. “We’ve wanted it for so long and never really got to the final goal.”
The team has been on the verge of a national championship twice with bids falling just short in 2009 and 2011. Their past experiences at nationals have left the Blues hungry for a title but have also made them more seasoned at the elite level and accustomed to the pressure and urgency of the moment.
“I think the experience helped tremendously at regionals,” says Tshimanga, who took over the team three years ago when it was at the U17 level. “Having been there and having known the pressure of it twice before, we will try to use that to our benefit. We’re probably more relaxed than the first year and even the last time in 2011 I think we were more tense. We didn’t expect to be at nationals. This time it looks like we’re going to seize the moment and just take it as it comes.”
Experience, depth and the strong team bonds forged over the course of a decade are all in the Blues’ favor as they strive for the perfect epilogue to youth legacies that are transitioning into college careers. By the end of this tournament, Spriggs might be leaving a part of her life behind, but she and the Blues will be leaving nothing on the table. “We’ve been to Nationals twice before,” she says, “so I think everyone is really hoping that we just win it this year finally.” “There will never be another time in our life where we play with somebody for 10 years,” says Danielle Spriggs.
Crossing The Finish Line
By Maddi Desiano
This past Sunday my family participated in the Katie Hawley run in San Clemente. My mom, brother, and I went down around 7:20 am. When we first arrived, I couldn't believe how many supporters were there. I saw moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, and even girls I played against all ready to run. There were boys and girls of all ages that know her from soccer, volleyball, school, or know her story. Many of them have been there from the beginning of Katie's climb and will stay there until the end. They kept her story alive.
When I saw Katie I ran up to her and gave her a big hug and told her how happy I was for her and her family. My mom ran up to MK and Bob and did the same thing! Before the run, Katie and her family thanked everyone for supporting her and said how grateful they were to be with their daughter today.
The run began and I saw Mary Namie my former U9/U10 coach, some of my teammates, and soccer friends who had volunteered their time to help with the run. I also saw my coach Tad, and Julie Foudy.
The best part of the run was watching Katie cross the finish line. It wasn't a finish line for the run, it was the finish line of her cancer and how hard she has fought to stay alive. I am so glad I got to see Katie and her family and it was truly a memorable moment. Katie will always have to fight, however, she's fighting with many many other people behind her.
Chloe Rice makin' us proud
In April of this year SC Blues GU15 soccer player Chloe Rice will fly to Florida to attend her first US National Team camp for the hearing impaired.
Chloe will be competing for a roster spot in hopes of representing the United States this summer in Sofia, Bulgaria at the 2013 Deaf Olympics where over 122 countries will be represented.
Professional soccer player and US Women's National Team member Amy Rodriguez stopped by the Ranch and the Blues Club House last week to sign her national team jersey for Cloe, to give her support, and speak with Chloe Rice about her upcoming tryouts.
If you spot Chloe at the fields in the next few weeks wish her good luck.
To learn more about the Deaf US Women's National Soccer Team please visit www.usdeafsoccer.com.
Good luck Chloe Rice!!!
Pictured together in this photo are Paul Cousineau (left) and Steve Warriner celebrating the dedication of the Paul Cousineau field (field #1) at Rancho Capistrano. Paul is the retired long-time Board member, field supervisor, and Blues Cup Director who spent 16 years with the Blues supporting his daughters and many other families who have played with the Blues. Field #1 has been re-named the Paul Cousineau Field to honor Paul for the countless hours and dedication he contributed to maintain and build more fields at Rancho Capistrano.
Steve Warriner built Field #1 nearly 25 years ago in the area that was formerly a quarter-horse race track. Subsequently, Steve built fields 2, 3, and 4 as the Blues Club and UFC grew. Ten years ago Paul Cousineau and Steve Warriner built our newest fields at Rancho Capistrano, fields 5 and 6. Together Paul and Steve dedicated themselves to create the finest soccer venue in South Orange County and continue to support soccer at Rancho Capistrano. Steve still lines all the fields for weekend games and Paul can be seen at the Ranch most weekends in the spring volunteering as a member of the Cal South State Cup Committee.
Congratulations Randy Dodge
Aliso's Dodge claims national award
January 21, 2013 6:36 PM
BY JASON EICHELBERGER
Aliso Niguel HS and Blues Coach Randy Dodge was honored over the weekend as the 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division I HS Coach of the Year.
Randy was the Register’s and the CIF-SS Division I 2011-2012 Coach of the Year; he led the Wolverines to a 23-1-4 overall record that included a 19-match unbeaten streak and 15 shutouts. Aliso Niguel went on to capture the school’s second CIF-SS Division I championship and its’ first ever CIF Southern California Division I Regional championship. The Wolverines were honored by MaxPreps and ESPN as each publication's girls’ soccer national champions.
Randy received the award at the annual NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. “It was a fantastic honor,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work and we have some fantastic kids in the program. I’ve also had the support of a great administration at Aliso Niguel”. The NSCAA Coach of the Year award recognizes coaches in the NCAA, NAIA, NCCAA, junior colleges, and high school. Randy was the only high school coach from California to be honored among both girls and boys award winners.
May 23, 2011
Blues News back in print, seeks new roving reporters
The OC, CA. Send us your stories, send us your high resolution photos. When they are not on the soccer fields our editors will work tirelessly to sift through all the submissions and print the good stuff if there is any. Check out the News Archive links below if you are looking for something you may have missed.
Hey Blues...PUMA has a special partnership with the Blues. We are among only a handful of clubs nationwide who belong to the elite TCC (Total Club Concept).
Check out PUMA's awesome soccer site www.puma.com/football. Slide down and go to the women's portion of the site for the latest info on Women's Soccer and the TCC (Total Club Concept) which goes into their association with the PUMA clubs nationwide. If you search around there you may even find something about the Blues.