My Y Story

BSX & Teen Soccer Team

SMALL SOCCER CLUB GOES BIG TIME

[From February 2015]

BSX Soccer Academy Director Carlos Saenz has been chosen to lead the South Sioux City Diablos U-19 Boys Soccer team to the Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Tournament and Showcase later this month. The team of high school students from SSC, Bishop Heelan, Sioux City West and Sioux City North will be among 400 teams from 5 continents competing February 14-16 in one of the largest youth tournaments in the nation.

carlos1webThe Diablos are the first local team to ever be accepted to this prestigious event.

Coach Saenz has been preparing the team with practices inside and outside at the Y. The Diablos are comprised of 16 players – including 10 Y members – ranging from age 15-18.

“Our program mixes in lots of skills: both fitness and technique. Since we’re not that big or physical, this style of soccer will help us perform on an international level against top competition,” Saenz said. “But I believe we can best improve the team by pushing every player to reach his potential.”

The hard work and dedication is not all about glory on the soccer field though.

Saenz continued, “We’re not only working to improve the players’ soccer skills, but teaching life skills and incentivizing discipline. School performances are getting better and these boys are already seen as role models by members of younger teams.”

carlos2Sweating while laughing and encouraging each other during warm-ups, the mood soon changed as the players put on their game faces. They knew what needed to be done during practice. The focus was clear, the effort was full and the work was hard – sometimes painful – but all the teens recognize the incredible opportunity they have to represent Siouxland.

The club’s director, Jose “Lupe” Gonzalez, sought out Carlos Saenz to coach the Diablos due to his expertise and international background. A native of Lima, Peru, Saenz played semi-pro soccer as a teen, traveling to tournaments in Spain, Mexico and Chile. He formerly coached at his alumni, Mount Marty College, where he still owns the record for assists in a season. In addition to launching the BSX Soccer Academy, Saenz is a Wellness Coach and Group Fitness Coordinator at the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA.

The team leaves for Las Vegas on Thursday, February 12. Size-wise, they hail from the smallest city in the Mayor’s Cup field, but hope to overcome their shortcomings in experience and lack of facilities with team chemistry and passion.

The South Sioux City Diablos are in a group featuring top clubs from California, Maryland, Texas, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria and Japan.carlos3