Some of the best seven and eight year old soccer players in the state don't play for a high profile club with outrageous fees and traveling schedules.

They play in Fresno. They are the Bullard Talent Ladybugs.

"It's their talent and passion for the game," said Ladybugs head coach Rick Saldivar. "I knew we had great parent supports so I wanted to take the next step."

After racing through their season with a perfect 12-0 record, Saldivar entered his Ladybugs in the Spring Cup at Morgan Hill, even though they are classified as a Rec team.

"I knew we had a good team," said Saldivar. "I wanted to see how good we were. We did really well. We had no goals scored against us and shut every competitive team out."

That's right: The Ladybugs won the whole thing, all four of their games, beating club teams in the process.

"We work together a lot and sometimes we practice a lot sometimes so we get better and better," said Ladybugs Midfielder Vicky Cuellar.

"We call our names and we tell people what to do, like what to do while you're playing soccer so you can make goals," said Ladybugs Midfielder Ciara Wilson.

And they do it having fun, laughing and smiling throughout all their games and practices.

"My philosophy of the game, especially at a young age, is that they have fun playing," said Saldivar. "Because once they stop having fun they will not want to come out to practice. They won't want to play for their coach."

Saldivar played at Wawona Elementary school as a youngster, and now counts his blessings that he's able to give back to Fresno's youth in the same way countless others helped him.

"Money shouldn't be an issue for them to be playing," said Saldivar. "And if I could help the girls with their future, better their future, I'm all for it."

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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fresno, fresno county, sports, david bataller
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