The local soccer team that wasn't supposed to exist


This story was posted by Teresa Godfrey of Portola Valley in the Sports category of Town Square. Says Teresa: There is no good reason for the team's name (Fat Kids) other than that's what the kids came up with ... none of them are fat.

By Teresa Godfrey

It was only a year ago when Mark Sontag, M.D., promised his family that he would not coach again. His medical practice required many night meetings, his family was ready for him to stay home and he had coached 30 teams over 11 years for his daughter and son.

However, time has a way of changing things. In September, he was approached by another dad with a deal -- if Mark would coach the U14 boys AYSO soccer one more year, he would co-coach with him.

Of course, the always-willing Mark agreed and it was at the coaches "drafting" table, when players are assigned to teams, that Dr. Sontag found out that his co-coach would not, in fact, be there -- his son decided not to play AYSO soccer. Mark was left with the commitment to coach, with no assistance, and not enough players to form a team.

With the help of friends, a call went out for any players interested in joining an AYSO team -- all comers were welcomed. It was this non-traditional beginning for the team named "The Fat Kids" that became a lesson in what being a team really means.

The season is now over. The team had an undefeated record during season play. It went into the playoffs and remained undefeated in the post-season play-offs until Dec. 9 when a team from Pacifica bested the Fat Kids 2-1. The team was one game short of going to the state championships.

Its record for both season and post-season play was 17 wins, 1 loss. Every member of the team played every game. Every member of the team scored at least one goal. Every member of the team played both offensive and defensive positions. The goalie, Richard Livingston, broke his wrist blocking an intended goal.

According to Sontag, "this was the best coaching experience of my career <0x2014> the boys were focused and played as a team; not as a bunch of individuals." This record is remarkable since the team was comprised of players from Portola Valley, Woodside, Menlo Park and Redwood City.

Another father, Ned Guilhuily, stepped forward and led many of the practices. A high school junior who plays soccer for Menlo School, Charles Le Moullac, also helped the team practice.

Members of the Fat Kids are: Alexander Carlisle, Zach Chase, Richard Cornew, Kellan Draeger, Marshall Gifford, John Gilhuily, Josh Godfrey, Richard Livingston, Donald Livingston, Christian Peraza, Max Polkinhorne, Jordan Sontag, Russell Sutter, Chris Waschura and Philip While. Matt Giordano substituted for Richard Livingston after his broken wrist prevented him from playing.


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Posted by Lorrie
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Dec 14, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Everyone contributed on offense and defense. Everyone played every game. Everyone scored. Everyone plays. This is the essence of AYSO. What is Dr. Sontag's secret?

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Posted by tgodfrey
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Dec 14, 2007 at 7:31 pm

Dr. Sontag is a great coach who inspires all players to do their best. He's positive, upbeat and encouraging. What more could anyone ask? Oh yes, he also makes playing FUN.

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Posted by Rose
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Dec 15, 2007 at 3:13 pm

Dr. Sontag is a great doctor too. He has really helped me with my back problems. What is his secret to being able to do so many things so well?

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Posted by citizen
a resident of another community
on Dec 16, 2007 at 9:26 am

way to go coach!
nice job players and assistants!
keep on keeping on!

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Posted by chad sefcik
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2007 at 2:19 pm

Like Dr. Sontag, P.V. AYSO had a great coach about 17 years ago. Our coach, Dennis Reichardt, brought out the best in his players. Sadly, Dennis passed away this year. Everyone who played for Dennis, will always respect the way he taught the game.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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