Tulsa Boasts Nationally Ranked High School Soccer Teams
TULSA, Oklahoma - High school soccer playoffs start this week.
Teams across the state are chasing state titles including two of the best in the country that are right here in Tulsa.
It's not uncommon for 2 local teams in the same sport to reach high national rankings. Early in the century, Union and Jenks football were top 10. Early this decade, Owasso and Broken Arrow baseball were top 10. And now in boys’ soccer, there's a couple top 10 teams.
"It's good for our school, it's good for these guys, it's good for our community to get recognition, to get it is just for the community as a whole, the East side, East Tulsa," said East Central Head Coach Connor Whitham.
The East Central Cardinals are cruising along at 15 and 0, good for 7th in the nation.
"Honestly it's a pretty great feeling, knowing how good we're doing but we just got to focused on our main goal, which is the state championship," said Centerback Jose Perez.
What's helped the Cards this season? Continuity.
"These kids have grown up together, for 10 years, 12 years and they've played pick-up soccer together and they’ve been friends, they're neighbors,” said Whitham.
"We still do the same routines just as we were little," Perez said.
Union is top 5 in the nation, at last check, as high as number 2. The reason is a new coach, depth, and no cell phones.
"Games, we don't let them have cell phones, they have to have meal time together. And then the intensity at training has been pretty high," said Union Head Coach Michael Wilson.
Undefeated Union had big out-of-state wins and are led by Ruben Carrasco's 26 goals.
"It's not just me, it's the team sharing the ball, helping me score a lot, and it's not just individually, they help me a lot on the field," said Carrasco.
"They've changed their mindset a little bit to now being a team that can work for each other and achieve together," said Wilson.
So, two great teams but still one goal at the end: a state title.