ECNL Boys Arizona Spring 2022 National Event: Day 3 Recap
It was time for a spark. Carson Pridie entered the match in the 85th minute with Arizona Arsenal trailing Santa Rosa United 1-0 in a U16 matchup at the ECNL Boys Arizona National Event. After playing the first half as a goalkeeper, he re-entered the game as a forward.
The Arizona Arsenal defense had the ball in its own zone when the back line dropped a dime to Pridie as he slipped behind the unsuspecting Santa Rosa defense. Pridie headed the ball past the opposing goalkeeper to even the score at 1-1.
It was his first touch since entering the contest, and provided the exact spark his team needed.
“It really felt good, getting that goal in the last few minutes,” Pridie said. “I wanted to help get the result we wanted, to at least get a tie. Just provide a spark for my team.”
Pridie nearly added another goal before the final whistle, but the come-from-behind draw allowed Arizona Arsenal to close out the weekend on a high.
Arizona Arsenal had a different experience than most teams at ECNL Arizona because Legacy Sports USA is their home facility; rather than traveling for the showcase, the club welcomed more than 45 other organizations and more than 165 teams to their facilities. Being able to show off their facility was a source of pride for Pridie, as well as being able to have so many teams from across the country come together to play different teams in the three-day event.
“These fields and this complex is really, really nice,” Pridie said. “And national events are always fun. It’s fun seeing the coaches and being able to play different teams we don’t normally get to play. To be able to do it in our hometown too is so great.”
Del Mar Sharks feels the same way. Traveling from San Diego, Del Mar’s U16 team was able to face teams from outside their conference, which presents plenty of different challenges and opportunities for growth. The U16 team battled Washington Timbers Friday night in a 1-0 loss, then drew Arsenal Colorado 1-1 on Saturday. The team closed out the weekend against Spokane Sounders, earning a 2-0 victory.
“It was great to get the win because we’ve been having a lot of chances these past games, but haven’t been able to put them in,” said Del Mar’s Chris Moynihan. “All of the teams here are good. They can all move the ball well and play at a high level, so to get the win was tough but a really good result.”
Along with playing clubs from different conferences every day, what the team loved the most was being able to play in front of hundreds of college scouts at ECNL Arizona. Having that kind of attendance pushes each player to be at their best every game, which only increases the competition level of these events.
“It’s is fun to come out and play for a lot of people,” said teammate Hugo Flores. “And it’s fun to watch the other games too. There’s always somebody sitting on the sidelines watching you that probably wouldn’t have beforehand. So every game is a great opportunity to leave an impression on someone.”
With three games in three days, there’s ample opportunity to leave your mark on the pitch. And in just a few short weeks, clubs will be back on the field at ECNL South Carolina, pushing each other to be the best they can be and leaving it all out on the pitch.
To view the complete scores and schedule from ECNL Arizona, click here.