Last summer these were the forgotten girls, the would-be Hesperia AYSO soccer players without a team or coach.


"They're kind of like the 'Bad News Bears," said Cherlyn Huitron, a mother of one of the players.


"This wasn't a team," added mother Erlinda Uribe. "These were players on a waiting list for a team. These players were last-minute signups and we didn't have coaches."


Luckily, a change fate came in the form of soccer afficionado Jose Zaragoza, a former semi-professional futbol player in Mexico who in recent years was an AYSO referee in Apple Valley. He was attempting to sign up his daughter to a local team, however, he was recruited to lead the way.


"I used to get paid to referee," Zaragoza said. "But now I'm doing everything as a volunteer. I love to help them."


While most teams have 14 girls, this U14 team of 13-and 14-year-olds had only 12. And because the team was patched together in such short notice, they only had two weeks of practice.


Officially the Dominators were formed last August. Most expected the fledgling squad's season to end just after Christmas. But a funny thing happened - the Dominators began to live up to their names and dominate the competition.


They played a tournament on Jan. 3 and did well. So they qualified for the Jan. 10 championship, took second place and qualified for division tournament on Feb. 28 in Bakersfield. The U14 girls Dominators and the U12 boys Pumas will represent Region 878. If the girls continue their winning ways, they could even earn a trip to play in Hawaii.


Five of the girls made the All-Stars: Shirley Zaragoza, Jessica Huitron, Katrina Uribe, Louisa Cervantes and Kaila Kiefer.


Although proud of his player's accomplishments, Coach Zaragoza is quick to point out that it's not on-the-field stardom that's taken the team this far.


"Those five don't believe that they're stars because they are part of a team," he said. "There are no all-stars on our team."


Moreover, he said, "I'm trying to form not a soccer team but a family. They're more than friends. They're sisters."


Besides helping them improve their soccer skills, he has rules they must abide.


"I don't allow them to criticize each other," Zaragoza said. "I believe that's why we've done well."


When the girls get to Bakersfield and face competition from outside of the High Desert, they will likely realize they have to be a tough-minded team to win. But that's nothing new for Dominators.


"They're the underdogs," Uribe said.


How to support the Dominators


Now that the Dominators have won on the soccer field, their parents and supporters need a victory on another front fund-raising.


"We are in need of sponsorships," said parent Erlinda Uribe. "We weren't expecting to go this far."


The team will drive up to Bakersfield on Friday, Feb. 27 and spend the night at a hotel prior to the weekend's three games. They will need to spend a second night also. As a result, the team will need about $1,600 for hotel rooms.


"We're looking for anything. Ten bucks is OK."


To help the Dominators, call Erlinda Uribe at (909) 763-1292 or email her at erlinda.uribe@yahoo.com.