By David Carrillo Peñaloza
8:40 PM PDT, July 26, 2012
Lexi Osso gave her dad the best birthday gift: a trip with her and her under-12 girls' soccer team to Walt Disney World.
"I was with 15 12-year-old girls, how fun could that be?" Jeremy Osso said with a laugh.
The day after her father turned 35, Lexi and Jeremy joined other family members of the Costa Mesa Envy, a select team from AYSO Region 120.
The team hopped on a plane to Orlando, Fla. to compete in the Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament last week.
This was Lexi's first out-of-state trip.
The coach, Cyndi Dimel, had been to Orlando before. She has been a referee during the tournament held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
As a coach, she pushed her team to experience international competition for the first time. The team also challenged itself by playing against older girls.
The Envy played in the six-team under-13 division. The five other sides were club teams, whereas all Envy players are from Costa Mesa and play AYSO.
"We never back down," said Lexi, a defensive midfielder.
In the tournament opener, the Envy showed it could hold its own against older teams.
In the final minute of a 70-minute match, Dimel said she watched Emily Olvera do her magic. She took on two defenders and dribbled through them before beating the goalkeeper from 12 yards out to record the game-winner and lift the Envy to a 3-2 win against Tri-State FA Royal Crush of Ohio.
That was the only triumph for the Envy in four matches over seven days. The team went 1-2-1 while facing stiff opponents like Lakeland FC/PCFC MFA Hurricane, the Florida state club champion, and Brams United Soccer 99 Rebels, a Canadian team.
Dimel, who played at the University of Arizona, saw Envy drop each of its matches against the teams from Florida and Canada. But the Envy managed to become the only team to score on the eventual champion, Brams United Soccer 99 Rebels.
"I have been extremely fortunate to have coached these girls," said Dimel, whose team also included Kim Herrera, Sierra Dixon, Isabelle Cruz, Lexina McDowell, Emma Warner, Megan Miller, Courtney Moore, Lizett Arroyo, Crystal Castaneda, Kassidy Bonilla, Kassandra Jimenez, Selah Jeffers and Destiny Hernandez. "My objective has always been simple: pass my passion and love of the game onto these young players, teach them how to be better players both on and off the pitch, all while making them great soccer players but even more amazing teammates."