“The kids loved it,” Sagebrush assistant coach Garrett Moss said. “We are the first team we know of from Nevada to win a national championship. This proves Reno is on the right track. We can compete with the best.”
The team has a distinctly local flavor. The Sagebrush has five players who attend and compete for Rail City high schools. Irvin Somera, Julio Soto and Omar Trujillo all play for the Sagebrush and go to Spanish Springs High. Sparks High’s Kevin Partida plays for the talented club as does Reed’s Christian Martinez.
Moss is a 2003 Reed High graduate and is also an assistant at defending Northern 4A champion Spanish Springs. Moss is an assistant on the Sagebrush club to former long-time Reed boys soccer coach Bart Vandamme.
“Coming from the city of Sparks and coaching at Spanish Springs now, it’s great to see these local ties,” Moss said. “We’ve also got kids from Reno and Truckee. We came together on the same team.
“These kids get along better than any team I’ve been a part of. Parents and players, from top to bottom, it’s been great. Now it’s time to turn those rivalries around when we play each other in high school.”
The Sagebrush, which earned a national berth by winning a regional tournament in Chino, Calif. in late June, beat three of the top seven teams in the country on their way to the title last weekend in Boise.
The tournament title run began Friday with a 1-0 win over the No. 7 nationally ranked Lamont Raiders from Illinois. In a Saturday quarterfinal, the local squad dumped No. 2 ranked Lake Grove United, 3-0. Sunday, in the tournament semifinals it beat the East Diablo Impact, 4-1. Sagebrush United Red followed that up with a 3-2 win over the Merced, (Calif.) Atlas in the title tilt on Monday.
Moss said his team’s pre-tournament work was the biggest reason for its success.
“Our boys put in a lot of effort,” he said. “We drive to California once a week to play in a league there. We don’t play too much in Reno. It’s a big commitment from our players and their parents.
“Playing over there is the only reason we’re able to do what we do. It’s so competitive. The teams over there are some of the best in the country.”