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NPL National Finals Preview: U-14 De Anza Force

Because of the stereotypes that plague younger players for being inconsistent, it can often be said that the U-14 division is something of a crapshoot — both locally and nationally.

But the squad of youngsters that De Anza Force heads to the NPL National Championship in Indiana with is no average group of youth players.

Led by Lorenzo Hernandez, who topped the NPL Champions League with 27 goals en route to a championship, De Anza should count themselves as one of the favorites in this prestigious tournament.

“We talk about this, when we go to a trip, it’s not going over to see Indianapolis and have a nice tournament,” said head coach Noah Delgado. “We’re going over to win the tournament.”

“I know it’s going to be all very tough games — the humidity will be a little bit different for us,” he added. “But we’ve been training and doing double days and getting excited and prepared to go there.”

Delgado’s squad has seen a massive amount of improvement in such a short time, only just qualifying for the Champions League in the fall via a fourth place finish before taking the division by storm and capturing the title behind a 6-0-1 record.

In order to get to the tournament, the squad fundraised over $10,000, showing their ability to get things done both on and off the pitch.

“It’s a very united team that works hard to play the right way,” Delgado said.

Force kick off their first game on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. local time against Las Vegas Soccer Academy. Their full schedule can be viewed here.