As people gathered at various booths during the Cal North & Nevada Soccer Expo Vender Show, and an array of clinics presented options for visiting coaches of CYSA, former Earthquakes player Hervi Rualo dedicated his time to young players in the Kids Zone.
Donning what appears to be a permanent smile, the current Coaching Chairman of Cal North CYSA waited patiently as children and young teens assembled on the improvised field inside Harrah’s Hotel in Nevada during the Expo.
"I’m basically trying to get all the kids to participate in the Kids Zone," he said of the annual training. "We do different exercises every hour, such as the one we’re going to start now, which is Receive and First Touch."
More than 10 children of various ages filled the small field as parents looked on, including Chun Dong, whose two children were passing the ball.
"This is pretty good to have for the kids and it’s a good soccer expo for us," Dong said, who arrived in Nevada from the Bay Area the night before. "My son plays for BUSC and likes it. I’m thinking we’re going to sign my daughter as well!"
Vendors from various companies filled Harvey’s Event Center, including Gateway Fundraising (Jelly Belly), Fold-A-Goal, the San Jose Earthquakes and Henry Wiley of EB Fundraising.
Now in his second year as vendor for the Expo – this year with Mrs. Fields "Dough-to-Go" – Wiley noticed the event was well-attended and said he and his wife would come back the following year.
"We’re celebrating my wife’s (Melanie) 60th birthday here at the Expo! But it’s been good. There are lots of people here," he said.
From custom shoes by Jessica Zopfi to soccer camps in River City, attendees were exposed to a plethora of vendor selections and myriad trainings throughout the three-day event.
For Tony Pehle, who was experiencing his first "Expo" visit, the event helped provide an insider’s look into CYSA.
"Our coach invited us to attend; I didn’t know anything about this before," he confessed. "We love it. The Expo is well-organized and it’s been a great experience for kids and parent. People should check it out. I’ll be going to the next Expo!"
The free Expo held various trainings and clinics by select coaches, including "Effective Transition from Boxes to Goals," presented by Maryclaire Robinson, Head Coach UC Davis Women’s Soccer; "Team Management," presented by Jerry Smith, USYS Region IV Girls ODP Head Coach, NSCAA Staff Coach, and Head Coach of Women’s Soccer Santa Clara University; and "Motivation and Confidence Building Techniques for Coaches," presented by Dr. Melissa Price, Head Coach of the University of Nevada - Reno.
The three-day event included a Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards Banquet, led by Dr. Pete Zopfi, Cal North Chairman and Pam Calhoun, Nevada YSA President.
Hall of Fame Inductees included Stephanie Renee Cox and Megan Anna Rapinoe, both US Women’s National team participants and former CYSA players. Hope Solo, US Olympic Gold Medalist and goal keeper for the Women’s National Team, provided a powerful speech as Keynote speaker during the dinner.
Diana Lara Magallenes, who attended the Banquet and represented the Tracy Youth Soccer League, was enthused about the Expo and felt that the pool of talent in attendance was instrumental to the clinics.
"It’s great to have all these presentations to better ourselves as coaches and referees," she said. "Their choice of Keynote Speaker also made this more attractive because she is one of the best female role models for our kids."
For Carolyn Raferty of District VIII, being selected as a Volunteer of the Year was priceless.
"I’m very pleased to get the award from District VII," she said of the recognition. "Top Soccer is a very rewarding program. To see the faces of Top Soccer players is amazing. They make it all the worthwhile."