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Twice the fun for Larsen

CdM boys' coach has two Newport Beach-based Slammers teams at U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.

July 19, 2010|David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Daily Pilot File…)

When you are George Larsen and you have two Newport Beach-based Slammers FC teams traveling to the Midwest, one team flies Sunday and the other the next day.

The chaotic flight schedule is one Larsen is glad he experienced.

Larsen is the only coach guiding two teams to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, Kan. Larsen has a side in under-17 girls' division and one in the under-16 boys' division.

The tournament starts Wednesday, giving Larsen and the teams time to settle in. The girls arrived before the boys and right away each felt the change in temperature.

"It's hot and humid," said Jack Gorab, a defender for the Slammers boys' team. "It's something to get used to."

Gorab and the rest of his teammates plan to sweat it out at the tournament for five days. The Slammers want to make it to Sunday, the finale.

Gorab has won a lot this year. He said much of the Slammers success is due to having six members of the Corona del Mar High boys' soccer team. Larsen coached the squad and Gorab, midfielder Mason Case, striker Jack McBean, goalkeeper Connor Gaal and sweeper Greg Allen played.

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The cohesiveness has allowed the coach and the five players to thrive after Larsen, in his first season, led CdM to its first CIF Southern Section Division IV and CIF Southern California Regional Division II titles in the program's history.

The Slammers qualified for the national event after winning the U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV title last month in Bernalillo, N.M. Behind McBean's three goals, the Slammers upset defending champion Sereno White of Arizona, 5-1.

The victories just keep piling up for Larsen. He has been around the game of soccer for most of his 37 years alive. He's played and coached on the high school and club levels, winning section titles and prestigious events.

This season doesn't compare to any of the past.

"For sure this has to be my best year," Larsen said. "I've never had a year like this and it's been pretty nice.

"I don't have any pressure to win. Are you kidding? Winning in CIF and now this?"

The stress of coaching has diminished after Larsen learned it was possible to coach both the boys and girls on the biggest stage. There is no scheduling conflict as each of his teams play at different times.

The boys open Wednesday with Waza FC 94 Black from Michigan at 8 a.m. Two hours later, Larsen coaches the girls against the SoCal Blues, a rival from Orange County.

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