By Don Lowe 

   As part of Lake Country Youth Soccer (Springfield, Missouri), Head Coach Victor Alvarado’s under 11 Monett, Missouri squad has been nothing short of magnificent throughout 2022, while putting together a sparkling 28-1-0 overall record, through early August. 

   It’s quite possible Coach Alvarado’s talented bunch will have more success coming its way while playing in a prestigious Disney Labor Day Soccer Tournament in Orlando, Florida, early this month, in advance of competing in a regular fall league slate, as well. 

   As Coach Alvarado ponders the strengths of his squad, there’s a rather simple mindset collectively amongst these young men, and he says, “The love and passion the kids have for the game is the same love and passion they bring to practice and games.” 

   In considering how this group has managed to do so well, Coach Alvarado says, “It’s the fact that this isn’t just a team. It’s a family that looks out for each other on and off the field.” 

   Since taking the helm of the Monett team a couple years ago, after serving as a volunteer coach prior to that, Coach Alvarado worked to get better exposure for his group while playing top-notch opponents along the way. “I decided to look for a more competitive league. 

   “We decided to play in the Lake Country Soccer League, and with the help of Program Director Katie Ellsworth and Southwest Missouri Rush Club, I was able to get us registered as a sanctioned team, so we could also play in different high-level tournaments.” 

   Coach Alvarado is ecstatic with the opportunity he has been afforded, and he says, “I have been coaching this group for more than 2 years now. Watching them learn and grow has been a privilege. 

   “What makes me most proud and the one thing I enjoy most about this team is the fact that without having to ask for it, God and life itself has managed to give me another family. It’s a family full of kids with big hearts and a lot of love for the game. We also have parents that go above and beyond. They are willing to go the extra mile for the kids. 

   “I run the Monett Soccer League. It’s an adult league that I started in 2021. It’s run here in town on Sundays. 

   “All the parents of my players have come together, and they sell food during the Sunday adult league. Everything that is collected goes toward the kids’ tournament and league expenses.” 

   Of course, it is all about the kids, and right now, there’s one focus. “This team hasn’t stopped practicing, even with the hot temperatures. They’ve been practicing nonstop the whole summer. 

   “Our number one mission right now is making the trip to Orlando and playing in the Disney Labor Day Tournament and bring the (championship) trophy home with us.” 

   Regardless of what transpires in Florida, Coach Alvarado says, “Coaching this team has changed my life. Watching these kids has been a privilege. 

   “I have learned from them just as much as they have learned from me. There is nothing about this team that I would ever want to change. This isn’t just a team, this is family.” 

Monett Soccer Team Fast Facts

Who: Monett Under 11 Soccer Team

What: Playing in the Disney Labor Day Soccer Tournament

When: Saturday, September 3-Monday, September 5

Where: Orlando, Florida

Head Coach: Victor Alvarado

Assistant Coach: Nic Cunningham

Tournament Details: Monett plays in a division with nine total teams, including five teams from Florida, two teams from South Carolina and one from Georgia

Success this Year: Monett has collected six tournament titles over the past year, including the LCS Fall Classic (2021), along with 2022 titles in the Branson Shootout Futsal Tournament, Jefferson City Futsal Super Cup, Monett Soccer League Youth Soccer Tournament, KC Champions Cup and LCS 3 versus 3 Kick the Heat Tournament

Roster: Cohen Cunningham, Alex Duran (captain), Zulay Garcia, Ivan Lomeli, Froilan Nava, Daniel Perez (captain), David Perez, Felix Rodriguez, Donavic Salas, Eli Swope, Tello Villa and Rolex Yang