Charlotte Soccer Academy girls take Under-13 Jefferson Cup title
By Jimmy LaRoue
Charlotte Soccer Academy 99 Predator used a strong defensive performance and two goals from Blake Sutherland to defeat World Class FC 99 2-0 Sunday in the final of the Under-13 Championship bracket of the Jefferson Cup 2013 Girls Weekend.
World Class FC 99 came into the game having won all three games of the Group A flight by a 15-1 margin (GotSoccer had WCFC ranked as No. 1 in the country through Aug. 1, 2012, but has no results for them beyond that), beating Cleveland FC U-13 Royal 5-0, Sparta Premier 00 KL of Utah 6-1 and the South Jersey Elite Barons 99 Sunday 5-0 to reach the final. Those teams represented the second-ranked southern Ohio team, the second-ranked team in Utah and the second-ranked team in New Jersey (fifth in the country).
Predator, the top-ranked team in North Carolina, finished the Jefferson Cup with four shutouts in four games, opening up with a 2-0 defeat of New Jersey Stallions Stampede (No. 1 in New Jersey), “a wonderful start,” according to coach Adam Denton.
Predator followed that up with a 3-0 win over North Rockland Sting Rowdies (who moved into the No. 1 national slot), qualifying for the final without needing the result from the third game, and a 2-0 win over YMS Pride to reach the final.
“We played against a very, very athletic team,” Denton said. “But we battled hard and we hung in there, and we kind of weathered the storm for the first 15 minutes and then we settled down.
Sutherland’s goal in the first half, he said, allowed his team to settle down. In the second half, “we really did deserve to win the game.”
Denton said that while “athletically, we’re not the biggest or strongest team,” they get numbers around the ball and are a good soccer team as a whole.
“When we win it, we have to keep it, because if not, it just keeps coming back to us, and the opposition that we’re playing against was just so dynamic and athletic that we had to get numbers around the ball, keep it and kind of limit them to the space that they would have,” Denton said.
He said they have to continue to work on their movement in the final third, anticipating and making runs and secondary runs.
“That’s something that we’re still in our infancy with,” Denton said. “We have some players with pace that can beat players, but we’ve got to get the players making runs off other players and anticipating where the ball is going rather than reacting. But we did a good job of that today on the counterattack. I think that’s how we scored our two goals.”
He rated his team’s overall Jefferson Cup experience as a positive one.
“It was very, very good, well-organized,” Denton said. “Everything’s on time, well-run. We had some difficult weather and the fields held up. It was a great experience, and we’ll look to come back next year.”