2013 US Youth Soccer National Champions crowned in Overland Park
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The remaining 2013 US Youth Soccer National Champions were crowned Sunday at the Overland Park Soccer Complex in Overland Park, Kan. Some of the country’s top teams in the Under-16 through Under-18 Boys and Under-16 through Under-19 Girls age groups met to conclude the final stage of the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championship Series.
Sunday’s final matchups featured teams that earned the right to play for their respective national titles by finishing atop their pools after three preliminary games.
On Saturday night, the Under-13 through Under-15 Boys and Girls National Championships were played, in addition to the 78th annual James P. McGuire Cup, televised nationally live on FOX Soccer.
Thirteen of the 14 teams that earned their place in Sunday’s finals qualified for the National Championships from the US Youth Soccer National League, and Sunday’s championship matches were remarkably close, with six of seven matches going to overtime and two ending in penalty kick shootouts.
West Coast FC of California South claimed two boys’ championships – the Under-17 and 18 Boys. Under-18 West Coast FC coach Rick Brown, whose team claimed the National Championship when his son, Ricky, saved two penalty kicks and then converted the final spot kick to claim the title, said it felt great to win the title in such a competitive game.
“It doesn’t matter how many times we are here, it matters that when we are here, we finish what we started,” Brown said. “You have to take advantage of these moments and we were lucky enough to experience it at age 14 in 2009, and we are lucky to have the same moment here in 2013 at Under-18. To have these guys go to college with this championship, it really comes full circle.”
2013 US Youth Soccer National Champions
Under-13: Legends FC (CA-S)
Under-14: Eastside FC 98 Red (WA)
Under-15: Eclipse Elite Black 97-98 (IL)
Under-16: DMCV Sharks Elite (CA-S)
Under-17: Cleveland United White (OH-N)
Under-18: Team Chicago Botafogo (IL)
Under-19: NASA 12 Elite II (GA)
Under-13: Pateadores LA (CA-S)
Under-14: Pateadores CM (CA-S)
Under-15: Santa Barbara SC White (CA-S)
Under-16: Smithtown Arsenal (E-NY)
Under-17: West Coast FC (CA-S)
Under-18: West Coast FC (CA-S)
Under-19: Lehigh Valley United 93 (E-PA)
A few highlights from Sunday’s matches:
In the lone game on Sunday to be decided in regulation, Smithtown Arsenal (E-NY) concluded its run through a tough Under-17 Boys division by lifting the championship trophy after defeating GSA Phoenix 97 Red (GA), 2-0. Smithtown entered the game after shutting out two-time defending National Champions Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S), 1-0, in Friday’s preliminary game to earn its spot in the final. The New York side kept the momentum going when Thomas Butzke gathered a loose ball after a scramble in the box and struck it into the net. The 12th-minute goal gave Smithtown an early 1-0 lead that its defense would make sure held up. The talented GSA attackers couldn’t break through the New York squad’s defense, as the National League Red Division winners failed to find the net on Sunday. Smithtown added an insurance goal by Harrison Weilbacher in the 63rd minute to seal the 2-0 win and claim the National Championship.
Little could separate two talented squads in the Under-17 Boys final, as West Coast FC (CA-S) and CUP Gold 95/96 Boys (OH-S) needed overtime to settle the championship. The two National League Blue Division sides met back in November, with CUP coming out on top, 3-0. It looked like CUP may have similar success when it pressured West Coast for much of the first half, but the Ohio side couldn’t find the back of the net and the game remained scoreless at halftime. CUP and West coast each put the ball in the goal during regulation, but the apparent goals were called back for a foul and hand ball, respectively. With no one breaking through in the first 90 minutes, the game went to overtime to decide a winner. Each side had opportunities to open the scoring the first overtime period, but it was West Coast that took advantage of its chance. Dylan Struthers was able to fire a ball in on a shot across goal to give his side a crucial first goal in the extra periods. West Coast made a couple of key saves to preserve the lead, as the California side held on to win, 1-0, and claim the Under-17 Boys National Championship.
In the pregame huddle, West Coast FC (CA-S) players talked about doing whatever possible to win, whether the victory came in regulation, overtime or even in a penalty kick shootout. That pep talk proved to be useful, as West Coast and Raiders FC Premier (IL) needed kicks from the spot to decide the champion. It was no surprise the teams were tightly-matched, after Raiders won, 1-0, in a National League game earlier this year. West Coast looked like it would get payback after Gage Zerboni scored off of a long throw in by Brian Way in the 65th minute. It looked like that goal would hold up after a late bicycle kick by Raiders forward Chi Bertrand was blocked, and the ensuing shot hit the crossbar. However, Kyle Hamann headed a ball from Roberto Torres into the net for a stoppage-time equalizer that sent the game to overtime. West Coast held off a series of Raiders shots in the overtime periods, and the game went to penalties to decide the winner. Each keeper made two superb diving saves, but when Raiders’ fifth attempt was chipped over the bar, West Coast keeper Ricky Brown stepped up to the spot with a chance to win the championship. Brown’s shot flew into the right side of the goal, and his team erupted in celebration, as West Coast won a thrilling Under-18 Boys National Championship. West Coast took home the Under-14 Boys National Championship in 2009.
In a match between two National League foes, DMCV Sharks Elite (CA-S) defeated 2012 finalist Kings Hammer Academy (OH-S) in penalty kicks to win the Under-16 Girls National Championship. In the 26th minute, Kings Hammer’s Sydney Kilgore ran up the left flank and crossed to the middle of the box where Brittany Mahoney buried it to take the lead. As the clock wound down, Kings Hammer appeared to have the victory until Kirsten McBeain found the equalizer for Sharks off a cross from the right side to take the game to overtime. Kings Hammer got the upper hand two minutes into overtime when Lauren Nemeroff was able to slide her shot into the net despite being pressured by two defenders, but Natalie Saddic tied the match for the Sharks by tapping in a loose ball, and the game went to PK’s. Sharks’ keeper blocked Kings’ third attempt and the shooters were perfect from the mark to deliver Sharks the title.
In the Under-17 Girls, Cleveland United White (OH-N) defeated Match Fit Beat (NJ) to become the 2013 National Champions. The two National League opponents went into overtime 1-1 after each scored in the first half. Alexis Manoa gave Cleveland the early lead in the 4th minute, but Brianna Robinson leveled the score for Match Fit seconds before the break. Due to a strong backline on both sides, neither team was able to break through in the second half and the match went into overtime. In overtime, Cleveland grabbed the game winner when Sydney Elinsky dribbled up field through the defense, and crossed it to Kelly Novac who knocked in a header to the near post.
In a rematch of the final game of the National League season, Team Chicago Academy Botafogo (IL) once again defeated returning champ VSA Heat Blue (VA) to seize the Under-18 Girls National Championship. The match started with an early lead for Team Chicago when Zoe Swift scored in the 11th minute, but Cassidy Mercier evened the score for VSA when she headed the ball into the net in the 49th minute off a corner kick, and regulation ended 1-1 to force overtime. In the extra period, Zoe Swift stepped up for Team Chicago again, delivering the game winner and the national title for Botafogo.
NASA 12 Elite II (GA) earned the Under-19 Girls title after defeating So Cal Blues Dido (CA-S), 2-1 in overtime. Both teams played a grueling match, resulting in a 0-0 score after regulation. NASA got the first advantage in overtime with a Caroline Waters goal. Kelsey Nix doubled the score six minutes later, slotting it past the keeper. Jocelyn Blankenship was able to put So Cal on the board with her late goal, but the Region IV side couldn’t find the equalizer and NASA took the championship in a battle of former National League foes.
2013 US Youth Soccer National Championship
Under-16 through Under-19 Girls and Under-16 through Under-18 Boys
|Kings Hammer Academy||OH-S||2||DMCV Sharks Elite||CA-S||3 (PK)|
|KHA: Brittany Mahoney (26:00), Lauren Nemeroff (82:00)|
|DMCV: Kirsten McBeain (69:00), Natalie Saddic (95:00)|
|GSA Phoenix 97 Red||GA||0||Smithtown Arsenal||NY-E||2|
|SMAR: Thomas Butzke (12:00), Harrison Weilbacher (63:00)|
|Match Fit Beat||NJ||1||Cleveland United White||OH-N||2|
|BEAT: Brianna Robinson (45:00)|
|CUSC: Alexis Manoa (4:00), Kelly Novak (112:00)|
|West Coast FC||CA-S||1||CUP Gold 95/96 Boys||OH-S||0|
|WCFC: Dylan Struthers (95:00)|
|VSA Heat Blue||VA||1||Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo||IL||2|
|VSA: Cassidy Mercier (49:00)|
|TCB: Zoe Swift (56:00), Zoe Swift (110:00)|
|Raiders FC Premier||IL||1||West Coast FC||CA-S||2 (PK)|
|RFC: Kyle Hamann (91:00)|
|WCFC: Gage Zerboni (68:00)|
|NASA 12 Elite II||GA||2||So Cal Blues – Dido||CA-S||1|
|NASA: Caroline Waters (91:00), Kelsey Nix (97:00)|
|SCB: Jocelyn Blankenship (107:00)|