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Earthquakes claim Santa Clara title
The Ceres Earthquakes under-16 boys soccer team continues to make a name for itself.

The premiere club accumulated five wins and one tie en route to a first-place finish at the 5th Annual Santa Clara Sporting Invitational.

"Everybody knows where Ceres is now," head coach Jose Hernandez said.

The Earthquakes won the Davis Summer Shootout the previous week. They advanced to the finals at the California and Chivas cups as well.

Ceres faced even tougher competition in Santa Clara, Aug. 8-10. According to, the US Club Soccer sanctioned event was the ninth-toughest tournament in the country.

"I'm not surprised because the kids have been working hard," Hernandez said. "They got experience. They know how to play together. They're having fun."

The Earthquakes shut out the Foothill FC MVL Raptors Gold 2-0 for the championship in the afternoon on Sunday, Aug. 10.

Jose Serrano and Alejandro Hernandez both scored after intermission.

"Everybody was focused," Jose Hernandez said.

Ceres upset Santa Clara Sporting 1-0 in the semifinals in the morning on Aug. 10.

The Earthquakes avenged a 7-2 setback, sustained at Regionals on June 14.

"We didn't make any mistakes this time," coach Hernandez said.

Santa Clara, the US Club Soccer National Cup and Region H, and California North State Cup champions, suffered just its second loss on the year.

Misael Laureano broke a scoreless tie 10 minutes into the second half. Then coach Hernandez implemented a defensive strategy that worked to perfection against the ninth-ranked team in the nation.

"We surprised them," coach Hernandez said. "I used two sweepers and one forward. Everybody worked good together."

The first meeting beween the two teams ended in a 2-2 draw.

Ceres defeated Northwest Nationals Premiere Soccer Club 1-0 in the quarterfinals on Aug. 9.

The Earthquakes tied the Juventus Sport Club Juventus Monarchs 1-1 earlier in the day, and topped the Columbia Timbers Red 2-1 and Bakersfield Brigade Red 1-0 on Aug. 8.

Ceres ranks second in California North, ninth in Region H and 35th in the nation. The Earthquakes have 14 wins, one tie and five losses.

"I'm proud of my kids," coach Hernandez said.

The Earthquakes' 18-player roster features Laureano, Alejandro Hernandez, Jose Serrano, Kyle Cerny, Bryan Burnham, Merritt Pyeatt, Saul Sanchez, Ricardo Rios, Angel Garibay, Larry Hernandez, Jacob Valenzuela, Antonio Cabrera, Luis Garcia, Rafael Rodriguez, Alex Bettencourt, Daniel Ochoa, Alejandro Paramo and Skekar Indraneel Raj.