A local girls soccer team made AYSO history by becoming the first all-African American team to win a national title. The team—known as the South Los Angeles Legends U12 (AYSO 1031)—came off a 48-game winning streak and an AYSO Western State Championship title before their victorious national title run.
The Legends traveled to Hawaii to compete in the national tournament and they were ready to put their best foot forward, they played pool games to determine their seeding in the tournament.
In the title match, they battled Lompoc U12. The South L.A. Legends were determined to be victorious.
“The girls came out on fire, they were really pumped,” said Habeebah Kolleff, the co-coach of the team. “They had a lot of energy, they wanted to dominate.”
Habeebah coaches the team with her husband, Ivan.
“All the effort from the coaches, it’s all volunteer,” said parent Wendy Wilkins. “They do an amazing job with all the girls, they’re patient with all of them.”
The final score of the national title match was 2-0 in favor of the Legends, an echo of the final score of the Women’s World Cup when the United States defeated the Netherlands to win the title. Skyla Wilkins, the daughter of Wendy, mentioned how Lompoc was a formidable opponent.
“I think both teams were pretty well,” Skyla said. “We were going back and forth,”
The first phase of the national tournament was pool play consisting of six teams. The Legends paced their pool with 5 wins and one tie, they advanced to the quarterfinal round. The quarters and semifinal games happened on the same day, but the Legends remained dominant, scoring 4-1 in both matches.
Along with winning the championship, the Legends were autocratic during the season. They faced, and defeated, the likes of the Beverly Hills All Stars, the Upland Elite, and the Hawthorne Bombers among others; On many occasions, they would keep teams from scoring a single point.
The chemistry on the team played a major factor in the team’s success.
“We worked together as a team since we have been working together for a long time,” said Ameerah Kolleff. “Us working together helps us overcome.”
The Legends were homed in on winning the championship and they knew what to do to get there. They did not entertain distractions; if a player was panicky, they would make each other laugh to calm nerves.
“I was a little nervous,” said Sidney Wooldridge. “If some of us were nervous, we had each other to keep each other from it.”
The parents of the players worked ardently to make the trip possible, from contributing funds to preparing healthy snacks, to help ease the children’s nerves.
“The parents put a lot of time and money into it and the girls really respected their parents,” Habeebah said. “I think what’s most important was our parents are dedicated to our team.”
The South Los Angeles Legends consists of 12 players: Kennedy Caesar, Madeline Holly, Jordan Washington, Wilkins, Aahana Holmes, Ivy Williams, Ameerah, Jaxon Gelin, Sanaa Pitter, Wooldridge, Elicia Lewis, and Kennedy Richard.
The AYSO 1031 commissioners were also a big help to the South L.A. Legends.
“They gave us the platform that we needed to get to this point,” Habeebah said. “They were very supportive with our fundraising.”