LOS BANOS — The Inter Milan-Los Banos amateur soccer team is putting its playoff campaign on hold for a week to compete in the Ram Copa Alianza, a national tournament tour for amateur teams.
"It means a lot to us, because last week they had the tournament in L.A., and they scouted one of the players to play for Chivas in Mexico," Inter coach Carlos Barajas said. "He's already training with the pros. Something can happen.
"We have a few 17-18-year-old all-year players, but our average is about 22. We have a couple of kids that are still in high school. They have a pretty good chance. They'll have all the scouts there from MLS, and teams like Chivas and Americas."
Games are at the Central Park Sports Complex in Fremont. Inter will play two Saturday games against Thundercats FC from Santa Cruz at 11:45 a.m., then against Real Juventud from Redding at 3:30 p.m. Pool play finishes up at 9:15 a.m. Sunday against Real España from Pacifica.
"They have select teams from San Francisco, all the way from Reno, Redding and Monterey. It's really tough," Barajas said. "The one we play Saturday, we played them last year. It was tied, and they scored 5 minutes before the game ended. Sometimes it's not just about playing good. You have to be lucky."
Inter-LB has played in the tournament the past two years, going out in pool play both years with a 1-2 record last year, and 1-1-1 the year before.
Inter will be joined by one other team from the Livingston-based Premiership Soccer League: the Livingston Chivas. Both teams are still in the hunt for the league trophy, with semifinal matches postponed from this weekend until both teams are finished with the Copa Alianza.
Semifinal matches are tentatively scheduled for Aug. 25. Inter finished fourth in the 17-team league's regular-season standings with a 14-4-1 record, with 60 goals scored against 26 allowed.
"They're really good players, and they play clean," Barajas said. "This past season, in 19 games we only had one red card. They're respectful of me and to the refs.
"We don't get paid to coach. They don't get paid to play. You have to have mutual respect."
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org