Arlington Eagles Red make history with capture of U-12 8v8 Region I title
By Roger Gonzalez
It could be described as sheer dominance. Arlington Eagles Red (Va.) cruised through the Under-12 8v8 division of the 2012 U.S. Youth Soccer Region I Championships this week, capping it all off with a 3-1 win over NHPSA Predator Navy (N.H.) in the final on Tuesday.
“Obviously, it’s a big win for us,” coach Jawed Sanie told The Soccer Wire. “This is the first regional championship for [the Arlington Soccer Association]. We’ve won states, but for regionals, it’s the first.
“The kids, they are very dynamic as a team, they work very well as a team. As individuals, they are decent players, but when they play as a team, they work the ball. With all of their wins, their confidence was high and they really relied on one another.”
In five games at the Region I tourney in Lancaster, Pa., the Virginia State Cup champions scored 22 goals while only surrendering three, keeping the opposition on their heels with a high-pressure approach.
“As a team, their motto is to not allow any shots,” said the Afghanistan-born coach. “Anytime we lose the ball, you could tell the intensity gets higher. That is one of the biggest things. We have adapted the [FC] Barcelona philosophy of hunting when you lose the ball.”
Edison Giron, a dynamic midfielder, stole the show with eight strikes, finishing as the event’s leading scorer .
“We send him up to play with the U-13 team during the VCCL [Virginia Club Champions League] games,” Sanie said. “He will come play half the games with our age group.
“He is very dominant, left-footed. He is good on the right, penetrates well, he just has the passion for the game. He is just very well-rounded…He can take a shot from 20 to 30 yards out. He has this incredible passion for this game.”
Giron was double-teamed and triple-teamed for most of the Region I cup, according to his coach.
“He has been on the team for the past three or four years,” said Sanie. “He was just dominating way too much. All of the coaches around here know him. Before he comes to the field, they know who Edison is. Even when double-teaming him, it’s hard to stop him. Once he has space, he is gone.
“Having a player like Edison really makes the other players step up. They try to keep up with him, follow him. I think that is the most important part of having a player of that caliber, to raise the level of the rest of the players. He is very valuable.”
Eagles Red have reached the highest summit available to them this season, as the youngest age level at U.S. Youth Soccer’s National Championships is U-14. So their coach is clearly content to have helped his boys earn this honor and represent both their club and their area well.
“It’s great,” Sanie said. “It’s great for the team, it’s great for the individual players. Now they have this under their belts for the rest of their lives. They are the first team in Arlington history to win regionals.”