How does West Coast Soccer prepare their players for the season ahead? Last weekend, coach Troy Dayak took his West Coast Soccer ‘06 girls soccer team to Yosemite National Park for some life lessons, team bonding and fitness.
After concluding a solid 2022 campaign which saw the team make the playoffs and showing well in front of hundreds of college coaches at Oceanside Sports Complex, the team deserved some time off for the summer break.
Upon return from the break, West Coast Soccer Club organized several preseason events to help prepare their players for the upcoming season. Up first was a team hike up Vernal Fall at Yosemite. Coach Dayak took the team to the top of Vernal Fall and when they reached the summit, the entire group did aqua therapy in the beautiful ice-cold natural pond called Emerald Pool.
We have an outstanding group of young athletes that are learning life skills and developing together. This is such a solid foundation mentally and physically to build from, plus a unique connection with each other and nature.
The girls stayed together at a lake house at Pine Mountain Lake in Groveland where they enjoyed kayaking, paddle board races, swimming and just hanging out together. After an early morning 7 a.m. surprise wake up by coach, the girls packed their backpacks with water, healthy foods, fruits, nuts and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and traveled into Yosemite Park on the West Coast team bus.
After a serious team stretch, coach Adaurie Dayak led the girls up what is considered the classic Yosemite hike along the beautiful Mist Trail to Vernal Fall. The lower part of the hike is paved and scenic and runs along the river, but then you cross the Merced River and hike through the mist, up 600 granite steps to the 317-foot Vernal Falls.
When at the top, the team ate, took a dip in the pool, and began their hike back down the Misty Trail.
“This was something I never thought I would be able to experience but I had one of the best times of my life” said Emily Chacon, Tracy resident and Kimball High School student athlete.”
Also speaking about the experience, Mia Level – another Kimball High athlete – said: “The hike was amazing and once you are at the top, the Emerald Pond was gorgeous and so pure and revitalizing. After sitting in the pond, I felt re-energized and ready for the steep hike back down.”
West Coast Soccer is a Tracy based soccer organization that plays in the National League called the Girls Academy (GA). West Coast is recognized as one of the top soccer clubs in the country and since its first graduating class in 2013, to date, they have helped nearly 200 young athletes earn college scholarships. Many of their players that have gone through the program are playing professionally here in the USA and overseas.