While weekends are a good time to kick back and relax, the Palo Alto Soccer Club 95 Blue did nothing of the sort during the recent Memorial Day weekend as the team won the Cerritos Memorial Challenge Cup U16 Boys division in Long Beach.
The Cerritos Memorial Challenge Cup is regarded as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, and is ranked No. 12 by GotSoccer.
Palo Alto 95 Blue placed first out of 32 teams, besting the the No. 6 and No. 9 teams in the country, the No. 1 team in Southern California, and a top-ranked team from France. The team let in only two goals in six games over the weekend tournament.
Palo Alto 95 Blue is currently ranked No. 14 nationally and No. 4 in Cal North, and will be headed to the Surf Cup later this summer in San Diego. Surf Cup is the top-ranked age-group soccer tournament in the country.
Team members for Palo Alto included Peter Laminette, Ryan Karle, Brian Kelley, Skyler Felt, Flint Mitchell, Brendan Spillane, Tommy Meaney, Gerrit van Zyll, Lucas Champenois, Johnny Knutesen, Josh Stephens, Cullen Vincelette, Alex Perez, Andrew Schmitt, Humberto Ayerdis, Jacob Gronlund, Sterling Kirk, and Grant Shorin.
The team is currently coached by two of Stanford University's men's soccer coaches, Gregg Olson and Mike Graczyk.
Graczyk will be taking the head coaching position for the team this summer, having recently relocated to the Bay Area to coach for Stanford. Previously, Graczyk coached at Harvard University, played in the MLS for the San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids.
He attended the University of New Mexico where he was the starting goal keep and led the team to the 2005 Final Four and four conference championships.