SOLANA BEACH — Winning teams are often rewarded for their success, but it was tenacity and optimism that earned a group of young athletes recognition after a soccer season that ended with only one win.The Sharks, nine boys under 8 years old, and individuals from four other teams were honored with the Peter Schmid Sportsmanship Award during the Solana Beach Soccer Club’s annual board of directors meeting Feb. 9 at Solana Vista Elementary School.The award was established by Anthony and Amanda Schmid in honor of their son to continue to foster his love of soccer until his untimely death. Recipients are recognized for their citizenship, helpfulness, attitude and loyalty on and off the field.
Individual awards for the 2011 season went to Madeline Carlson, Meghan Pickwell, Lilianna Woodworth and Garret Dahl. The Sharks players included Hudson Church, Nicolas Bourdette, Casamir Krupinsky, Logan Levy, Rocco Marcolongo, Evan Salgado, Steele Snodgrass, Jackson Walker and Jonas White.
Paul Salgado, who coached The Sharks, was also recognized with the first-ever Coach of the Year Award.
A few weeks into the season, a few key players and the coach opted to play competitive soccer, leaving The Sharks “short on speed and experience” and without a leader, Salgado said.
Already committed to coach two other teams, Salgado stepped in to help. “He’s one of those guys you just want everywhere,” board member Peter Cavanagh said. “He’s coached soccer and Little League. He’s a huge part of almost every kid’s life in this community.”
“I have been coaching for about 30 years now,” Salgado said. “In most of my previous experiences, winning came easily. Not so with this team.
“This has to have been the most challenging,” he said. “Trying to keep the boys motivated without a win definitely was a hurdle.”
Despite scores such as 12-1 and 6-0, “the boys gave it their all,” he said.”It didn’t matter how badly we lost. They were great sportsmen. It wasn’t the winning that was so important. It was the journey. These boys taught me a lot and (I) became a better coach.
“They never gave up,” he said. “What we lacked in ability we would make up with heart. The boys worked hard and it paid off.”
The Sharks tied their second to last game and won the final match 3-2.
Madeline was recognized by her coach, Greg Short, for her “contagious enthusiasm.”
“Mady is one heck of a competitor but never talked smack or rubbed … success in the other teams’ face,” Short wrote in nominating her. “She scored many goals and never complained about playing defense, giving other girls a chance to play up front and score.”
Meghan, 16 and a sophomore at Torrey Pines High School, “exemplifies the adage, character counts,” her coach, Jeff Lyle, said.
With 18 players on his team, not one liked to play goalkeeper. “Most would rather have a tooth pulled,” Lyle said. “Some threatened to cry.
“Meghan was a willing and cheerful volunteer all season,” he said. “She knew someone had to play the position and, for the good of the team, stepped up.” She also helped clean up after practices and hauled equipment to the coach’s car.
“Meghan could be the poster child for what our league is all about,” Lyle said.