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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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A week of soccer full of Yudin\’s influence

By
November 16, 2010 | Leave Comment

Enterprise columnist

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Where to start? If you come from Ashley Yudin\’s Davis High boys soccer program, you have a story to tell. This month, there are a lot of tales to spin.

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This past weekend, the Yudin influence stretched across the nation, enabling programs from coast to coast.

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Talk to Yudin about his influence and he\’s quick to tell you it\’s all up to the young men as to how they use what they\’ve learned from the ol\’ Texas master. There\’s a framework there.

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Every year, our soccer guys get the same life\’s lessons. Yudin changes his team\’s style based on the talent, but he never strays from his message of responsibility, citizenship and education.

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Year in, year out, the Blue Devils are there at the end.

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So schooled, such solid citizens are Yudin\’s disciples that major colleges clamor for his baby robins.

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Take Jalil Anibaba, for example.

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After a stay at Santa Clara, the now-senior defender is a major reason that North Carolina is, well, North Carolina.

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Named this week to College Soccer News National Team of the Week, the ex-Devil defender\’s performance stifled Atlantic Coast Conference foes as the No. 4 Tar Heels advanced to their league finals (a penalty kick beat \’em in the championship).

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Anibaba started all 20 games for North Carolina, accomplished center back that he is. The Tar Heels allowed but 13 goals and had 10 shutouts. Next stop, a tourney date with Butler on Nov. 21. After that, probably the MLS.

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Just up north, at Chico State, another former Blue Devil, Luke Palmer, joined in a key play on Sunday that helped his Wildcats come from behind to beat Grand Canyon, 2-1, and move into the NCAA D-II quarterfinals next week (against undefeated No. 2 Midwestern State).

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Karl Palmer (Luke\’s pop) says there are heavy Devil, UC Davis and DYSL (Legacy) links in Chico. Former club and Aggie coach Felipe Restrepo is at the helm of the \’Cats. Restrepo got to watch one of the weekend contests from the stands, thanks to a previous red card. A Legacy grad, Nick Tedrow joins Palmer at a midfield as Chico is going after its second national crown.

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Jeff Strickland, whose brother Mike was a mainstay at Stanford, is another Blue Devil (a 2007 section title winner) who plays lights-out defense for a major college. Toiling at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Strickland helped the Broncos play .500 ball. The redshirt freshman\’s team is expected to compete for a NCAA playoff berth in the coming years.

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Then waaay up north, at Gonzaga, Greg Carter earned his way into the Bulldogs\’ starting lineup — as a true freshman.

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Playing four years at DHS, like Carter, just gives our guys a field sense that translates immediately to collegiate success.

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So, what about this year\’s Blue Devil bunch?

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After a shaky start (at least by Davis standards), the locals came on strong and once again made it to the finals. Hats off to a loaded Jesuit High, which handled DHS, 3-0, in the section championship game on Saturday. But tradition, terrific coaching from Yudin and assistant David Robertson and typical heart once again put the Devils on the title doorstep.

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Yudin, in 20 seasons, has helped his kids win five Sac-Joaquin Section crowns. One other team made it to the finals and a handful have gone as far as the quarterfinals.

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We\’re all going to miss players like Jesus Herrera, Cyrus Ghaffari and Alex Vivona. But something says there\’s still game at the next level for these guys.

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Now, pay close attention. For Palmer and Anibaba, it could be that these Blue Devils will stand in the middle of two NCAA soccer championship photos. Incredible.

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While I Have You Here: Sophomore Adam Jahn, a Davis resident who attended Jesuit, was Stanford\’s second-leading scorer (nine points) in a down 8-10 year for the Cardinal. Jahn, a national-team player of great merit, is a 2009 prep graduate and helped the Marauders to multiple section pennants.

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If you want to see Palmer and Tedrow play Midwestern State, game time is 1 p.m. on Saturday in Chico.

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— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8047

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