Megan Decker's year on the pitch was far from done when the La Cañada High girls' soccer team's season ended in the CIF Southern Section Division VI quarterfinals.
The 15-year old Decker continued her year in soccer with her club squad, Legends FC, and made it one to remember by helping Legends win the 2012 US Youth Soccer 15-and-under-girls National Championship in South Carolina with a 1-0 victory over Kings Soccer Academy from Ohio on Saturday.
"[The competition] was more than I expected, it was different from all the California teams, definitely," said Decker, who has played for Legends for the past two years. "It just took the whole team and everything we all had. It was pretty amazing actually."
Legends Coach Rick Young said the accomplishment was a dream come true for the team.
"In youth soccer this is the main goal for every kid that plays," Young said. "There are over 10,000 teams that enter into this [National Championship] and to be the last team standing is fantastic."
Decker is a left back defender for Legends, who qualified for the tournament out of the National League, and it was the team's defense that guided it to the national title, as Legends didn't give up a goal in the four-game tournament.
"We generally put [Decker] on the other team's best front runner," Young said. "She is a lockdown defender that can take away the other team's best player. Our whole backline and our goalie are just unbelievable, and to go through the tournament and not give up a goal is what it takes to win a national championship."
Legends opened the tournament with a 1-0 win over MVLA Mercury Black of Northern California July 25 before it played Kings Soccer Academy to a scoreless tie on July 26. Legends advanced to the championship against Kings Academy with another 1-0 victory over Internationals 96 Red of Ohio on Friday.
With nothing between the two teams when they first met, Decker expected a tightly played championship game and wasn't disappointed through the first half.
"It was very intense the entire game," Decker said. "I was just nervous it was going to [penalty kicks] or something. Thankfully, [Peyton Perea] came through, though."
It was Perea who notched the only goal of the match in the 64th minute off a corner kick. It was Legends' sixth corner of the game and Perea made it count.
"The ball just shot out and it was just in the box for a while, getting knocked around and [Perea] gave it everything she had and knocked it in," Decker said. "It was pretty crazy, she could barely remember what happened, she said after."
Decker said it's her experiences at the club level that helped prepare her for the high school level, even though she was playing forward for the first time. The incoming sophomore had a stellar debut campaign with the Spartans, as she led them in goals with 17 to go with 11 assists.
It's those numbers that led to Decker being named an All-CIF Southern Section Division VI third-team selection and a first team All-Rio Hondo League pick.
Once Decker's sophomore season is in the books, she and the rest of the Legends club will look to build on what they accomplished this summer.
"At first it was like where do we go after this? You can't go world," Decker said. "I just want to maintain our streak. We just want to stay strong and keep winning the big tournaments. We just want to keep it up and do the same thing next year."