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Small California club battles international giants
by Paul Kennedy, August 6th, 2008 10:30AM
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By today's standards, South Coast Bayern is a small club with just 13 teams -- five boys and eight girls teams. But the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based club created waves internationally when its U-17 team pounded Brazilian giant Fluminense and beat top clubs from England and Scotland en route to the final of the U-17 Premier Section at the annual Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, where it fell to Manchester United, 3-0, in the final.

(Click here for video highlights of the Milk Cup.)

South Coast Bayern, which is an affiliate of the great Bavarian club, reached the quarterfinals in its first appearance at the Milk Cup in 2007 and again returned to the final eight with wins over local team  County Fermanagh and Ipswich Town.

In the tournament's biggest upset, Bayern defeated defending champion Fluminense, 4-1, in the quarterfinals. John Fitzpatrick scored twice, and former U.S. U-17 resident Dersu Abolfathi and Hector Gomez each scored once in the win over the famed Rio de Janeiro club.

In the semifinals, Bayern edged Scotland's Hearts on penalties to advance to the final against Manchester United, last year's runner-up.

Fitzpatrick was a constant threat in the final but could not beat United's Northern Ireland under-21 international keeper Conor Devlin. United won on goals by Oliver Norwood, Nicholas Ajose and Italian Federico Macheda.

(Click here for a blog on South Coast Bayern's Irish journey.)

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