Two years ago, the Oceanside High boys soccer team was sitting on top of the prep soccer world in North County. A state playoff run and a No. 6 national ranking left the Pirates in rare air. Coach Frank Zimmerman’s hard-nosed disciplined system on and off the pitch seemed to have taken hold with the elite of San Diego county.
Then, in June 2017, 23 of 25 players graduated and the result was a six-win season and a loss of the city championship to El Camino, a first in Zimmerman’s two-decade-plus career.
“Last year we worked hard on skill and technical development,” Zimmerman explained. “Then, the kids went into club and got another year older and more experienced and the result is what you see this season.”
What everyone will see is an Avocado League East championship banner hanging Wally Molifua Gymnasium as the Pirates edged Sage Creek 3-2 Friday to earn the outright league title.
After Sage Creek tried desperately to stall the game out in the final five minutes, Adam Soleberg won the ball and centered it to Cesar Cruz, who found himself wide open 25 yards from goal, and Cruz squeezed the ball just inside the left goalpost for the game-winner in the 78th minute.
‘This is a resilient bunch,” Zimmerman said. “We had three good opportunities in the last five minutes and Cesar made his count.”
Jose Aguirre scored on an assist from George Silva in the 38th minute and Andrew Torres connected on a free kick from 30 yards out to account for the Pirates’ first two goals.
With the victory, the Pirates improve to 6-1-1 in league and 14-4-1 overall and have their sights set on a first-round bye in the CIF Div