High School Sports

Wow! Morro Bay soccer player puts her gymnast skills to work with an acrobatic goal

Morro Bay soccer player used to be a gymnast. Watch her make an incredible goal

Morro Bay High School freshman Ava Burton pulls off an amazing goal in a soccer game against Righetti on Dec. 6, 2018.
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Morro Bay High School freshman Ava Burton pulls off an amazing goal in a soccer game against Righetti on Dec. 6, 2018.

A Morro Bay gymnast-turned-soccer-player pulled off one of the more amazing goals you’ll ever see — in a high school game or otherwise.

And she did it with a move you’d more expect to find in a floor routine than on a soccer field.

In a home game against Righetti on Dec. 6, freshman varsity player Ava Burton set up for a throw-in from the far sideline at about the top of the penalty box.

At the ref’s whistle, she took two steps forward, did a powerful front flip over the ball and then hurled it toward the goal, where it hit the hands of the leaping Righetti keeper and continued into the net, much to the delight of the hometown crowd.

To make the story even better, 15-year-old Burton is no soccer veteran — she only started playing the game a month earlier, said her dad, David Burton.

She’d been a gymnast for nine years at Central Coast Gymnastics in San Luis Obispo, he said, before giving it up to try soccer. She quickly made the varsity team, despite her lack of experience.

“Her soccer skills and soccer intelligence are in dire need of improvement,” Burton said in an email. “But her raw physical speed, agility, etc., are pretty special.”

Righetti went on to win the game 2-1, with Ava’s throw-in the lone Pirates’ goal, but Morro Bay clearly won the highlight reel.

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Joe Tarica is the editor of The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. He’s worked in various newsroom roles since 1993, including as an award-winning copy editor, designer and writer of the Joetopia column. A California native, he has been a resident of San Luis Obispo County for more than three decades and is a Cal Poly graduate.
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