For the first time in more than a decade, a non-Santa Ana team won the Torneo Mxico, an annual soccer tournament organized by the Mexican Consulate to determine which city has the county's premier all-Mexican-immigrant soccer squad. Laguna Hills won this year, defeating Santa Ana 6-1 on June 23 at Santa Ana's Centennial Park. They advanced to a Southern California-wide play-off in San Bernardino Saturday also organized by the consulate. Though putting up a robust effort, Laguna Hills finished third in its four-team division, whipping San Diego 3-0 but then losing consecutive matches to Calexico (3-2) and San Bernardino (1-0).

Socorro Sarmiento, who works at the Mexican Consulate as coordinator for the Program for Mexicans Abroad, is proud of the Laguna Hills side–not so much the Mexican government, which recently cut funding for the tournament. If they can't raise more money soon, the Torneo Mxico may not be around next year.

"It hurts me that the Mexican government can't provide more money for the tournament," said Sarmiento. "Soccer is a way of communicating with the community, not only because of the actual competition itself but also because it serves as a medium for the government to organize its own citizens."

Sarmiento vows that the tournament will continue next summer, but meanwhile she's asking for contributions. Any and all millionaire soccer aficionados should call her at (714) 835-2082. (Gustavo Arellano)

If the fear of swimming in big waves and rough currents is keeping you from doing a triathlon, there is help. Ocean familiarization swim clinics are being held July 12-13 at Crystal Cove State Park in preparation for the Pacific Coast Triathlon on July 19. The 2 1/2-hour clinics teach the basics of open-water swimming, concentrating on how to get in and out of the water safely and swim on course. The cost is $40-$45 per person. Free wetsuits are provided. For more information or registration check or call (949) 836-9619. (Nan Kappeler)


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