National Champions! That’s what the Pima Community College men’s soccer team wanted to be at the end of the day on Saturday.
And, it was, beating No. 3 seed Barton Community College, 2-1 in double overtime to win its first national title in Florida.
The Aztecs won after sophomore Hugo Kametani scored the game-winning goal in the 107th minute.
After a scoreless first half, the Cougars struck first when Tevin Rochester scored on a penalty kick in the 62nd minute. The Cougars kept the Aztecs on the defensive end for much of the game.
The Aztecs tied the game at 1-1 with 11:20 left in regulation when freshman Isaias German scored in the 79th minute.
“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve had a lot of terrific players. We’ve had unbelievable support from Pima College over my 30 years here. It feels very good to reward our alumni, reward all the support staff and administration,” Pima coach David Cosgrove said. “These kids always found a way to win. It was an unbelievable quality they had.”
The Aztecs claimed the ACCAC conference title, the Region I, Division I title and West District title. This was the first time in program history they had won all four championships in one season.
Freshman goalkeeper Nils Roth finished the game with eight saves and kept the game alive with two crucial saves in the second overtime.
“It was a tough game but as always we found a way to win,” freshman goalkeeper Nils Roth said. “I’m quite lucky. This is why I came to Pima. I’m the happiest man in the world right now.”
Sophomore defender Jacob Pacheco was part of a defense that allowed just 17 goals all season and helped the Aztecs earn 17 shutout victories for the season.
“I don’t want to stop moving. I’m just so happy; happy to be a part of this team and this group of men. It’s been nothing but amazing,” Pacheco said. “We always knew we had a great defense. We weren’t going to let them score and we just kept them out of the goal. We knew we’d find a way to score. We got great goal scorers.
“This means everything in the world. We came close last year (third place at Nationals) and this year we won it all. Happiness and joy.”
Kametani broke the Pima record for goals in one season as he finished with 30. Jason Romero held the previous record with 29 in 2015. Kametani also had seven game-winning goals this season. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament.
Freshman Itsuki Ishihara was selected to the NJCAA Division I All-Tournament team.
The Aztecs also set a program record for the most wins in one season as they finished 26-2.
Pima’s sports information provided information for this story.