By Roger Gonzalez
Editor’s Note: Haga clic aquí para leer esta historia en español
Loudoun Red 95 of Virginia opened up its Jefferson Cup with a surprising 3-0 loss to Penn Fusion SA ’95 on Friday’s day 1. On Saturday it was a different story, with the Virginia State Cup finalists rebounding to secure a 3-1 win over United 1996 FC Internationals of Kentucky in U-16 Championship play.
“I was very, very happy bouncing back after yesterday’s defeat,” coach John O’Hara told The Soccer Wire afterwards today at West Creek.
“It showed good character from the boys to come back. We had a lot more energy, a lot more focus.”
Andrew Jenkins bagged a brace, while Jonathan Mackey scored another as the team was in fine form against the reigning three-time Kentucky State Cup champions.
“Today was definitely much improved,” continued O’Hara, an Irishman who has played professionally in both the U.S. and his native land after a stellar college career at George Mason University, where he is now an assistant coach in charge of goalkeepers.
“We definitely possessed the ball better. We talked after the game yesterday about our focus as a group, preparing mentally for games and just having a better approach.”
After Friday’s defeat, the Ireland-born coach attended the Maryland vs. VCU college exhibition match with his players. (Editor’s note: See Charles Boehm’s match story here)
“I think that helped as well,” O’Hara said of helping his team prepare. “It showed them what it takes to get to the next level.”
Now, the coach looks to enjoy the rest of the tournament as his team aims to earn a trophy. Regardless of the results, the tactician has always enjoyed attending the competition.
“It’s been great,” he said. “My U-10 boys are down here as well. I’ve been down to this tournament for the last five years, recruiting with Mason or just down here with different teams. It’s a tournament that I’ve continued to bring my teams to. The fields are great.”
The club will return to action Sunday at 11:20 a.m. against Arsenal FC Gunners from Pennsylvania at SportsQuest.