The Rockridge Soccer Club Running Rhinos of the Jack London Youth Soccer League were crowned state champions Sunday in the under-12 boys division of the California Youth Soccer Association (CYSA) Tide American Cup.
After winning their preliminary round games in Sacramento in early December, the Rhinos advanced to the final rounds at the Ripon soccer complex near Modesto.
The Rhinos advanced to the semi-finals defeating an skilled team from Clovis, 2-0, and then advanced to the finals defeating the East Fresno Sacred Heart Vikings, 4-1. These teams had beaten their previous Tide Cup opponents by a combined score of 27 goals to 2. In the finals, the Rhinos defeated the Fig Garden (Fresno) Jets, who came into the game having won all 37 of their games this season.
The final game was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation time and was decided on penalty kicks after two sudden death overtimes were scoreless.
Now in their sixth year, the Running Rhinos started as first-graders at Berkeley’s Emerson School. Last year, the team added players from Oakland’s St. Teresa’s school.
The current Rhinos are mostly 6th graders at Berkeley’s Willard and Oakland’s St. Teresa’s school and include: Luca Castelloto, Joey Catanzarite, Fidel Felipe, Mikhael Gustin, David Lindheim, Nate Mills, Andrew McFann, Max Potter, Justin Passek, Ryan Tower, Dillon Tuckner, Adrian Villalpando, and Peter Walton.
Dan Lindheim is the coach of the Running Rhinos.