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Members of the Saddleback boys soccer team crowd around the resolutions they received from the O.C. Board of Supervisors on Tuesday in Santa Ana.

Saddleback boys soccer honored

Saddleback boys soccer honored

The Orange County Register
Boys Soccer: The Saddleback boys soccer team receives recognition by Orange County Board of Supervisors for its recent success.

SANTA ANA - Many national championship teams get to visit the White House to meet the President.

The Saddleback boys soccer team didn't mind settling for a trip to the Orange County Board of Supervisors office Tuesday. There the Roadrunners and Coach Mel Silva received a proclamation for their CIF-Southern Section Division III title and mythical national championship.

And, if the smiles on their faces after the formal board meeting presentation were any indication, it was just as good.

"I didn't think it was going to be this formal," said Silva, who was decked out in a suit and tie. "We thought we were going to be in an office, nothing big. This is our version of the White House."

First District Supervisor Lou Correa presented the Roadrunners with the recognition. Political consultant and Saddleback alumnus Steve Spernak (class of 1972) helped architect the event by contacting Correa.

"The supervisor said we had to honor these kids for their hard work and the quality program that Mel Silva has put together," Spernak said. "He's the John Wooden of high school soccer."

Being mentioned in the same breath as the great UCLA basketball coach was enough to make Silva's day.

"It's a humbling experience to be compared to such a great man," Silva said. "I'm only a little pebble on the road."

Silva completed the dream season with a 26-0-2 record and, for the first time in his 17-year career, finished on top with a CIF championship plaque.

"There's no words to describe what we went through this past season," he said. "This Saddleback team will forever be special to our community because they erased 17 years of frustration. It was worth all those 17 years of waiting because it was put together in one year."

Junior forward Nixon Valle said he's looking forward to next season.

"The whole experience was good because I'm a junior and have a great chance to do it (again) next year," he said.

Next on Spernak's to-do list is to find a sponsor in Orange County willing to help the team purchase national championship rings. Anyone interested can contact Spernak at (949) 466-6248.

"These kids are the national champions; they deserve to wear a ring," he said.

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