So far we’ve introduced Katie Cole and Jon Pearlman as 5 of the names you need to know in Arizona Soccer. Both coaches are having a major impact on development of young players in Arizona and in the US. Today’s feature is Barb Chura and Barb shows us that developing skills and confidence in our youth is the solid foundation that leads to elite level play as adults.
If you don’t know about the Ahwatukee ’99 Girls Soccer Club, it’s time to start paying attention. The club recently won the state cup tournament for their fifth consecutive state title. Equally as impressive was the team’s goal differential. They scored 29 goals while giving up zero goals during this year’s run. At the helm was coach Barb Chura, a longtime leader for Arizona girl’s soccer.
Chura hails from New York and has been around soccer her entire life. She was named to the under-15 national team pool and played for the New York State Olympic Development Team. Her youth success translated to a successful tenure as a four-year player at the University of Connecticut. Her Huskies were a top-10 Division all four years and even competed for a national championship against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
As a lifelong soccer player, the logical next step for Chura was to get into coaching. She logged a total of 10 years of coaching at Texas Tech University, James Madison University and the University of Notre Dame. She then relocated to Arizona and has never looked back. Chura currently coaches the girls’ varsity soccer team at Xavier College Preparatory High School.
A HUMBLE LEADER
Chura has seen the Ahwatukee Girls Soccer Club succeed at the highest level of competition. Their recent tournament run consisted of a five game undefeated run. Chura refuses to shed the spotlight on her, instead focusing on the drive and character of her successful squad.
“They have stuck together since they were eight years old,” Churra says. “When you get a special group of players that truly care for one another and work for the person next to them…you are going to have great success.”
The Ahwatukee ’99 soccer team is comprised of 15 girls, most of whom were born in 1999 and live in the East Valley. Prior to their tournament run, they went 13-1 in Arizona and 10-2-2 in out of state games featuring elite-level competition. They compete in the top premier league division for their age group in Arizona.
“I have been very fortunate during my coaching years to be around some really amazing teams and this team ranks right up there as one of the best,” says Chura. “They will be remembered as one of the best girls teams to ever play in Arizona.
Chura believes that the future is bright for girls and women’s soccer. Her contributions have helped lay the groundwork for her player’s future success. In fact, seven of the Ahwatukee ’99 players are moving on to play at the collegiate level this fall.
“I think that soccer is getting better across the country but specifically in Arizona I think there are many opportunities to succeed,” said Chura. “It really starts with the young ages and hopefully players will get a strong foundation early on to continue their development as they continue to grow.”
Read the rest of the series of 5 Names to Watch in Arizona Soccer:
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