First four champions crowned at the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championships
TULSA, Okla. (via US Youth Soccer) — Four of the 14 champions were crowned Saturday night at the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championships at the Mohawk Soccer Complex in Tulsa, Okla.
Massapequa Arsenal (NY-E) edged St. Louis Scott Gallagher (MO), 3-1, to capture the prestigious Under-19 Boys James P. McGuire Cup championship.
“We know what the McGuire Cup means. We know it’s the oldest youth competition in the U.S., and has been around for 80 years now,” Arsenal coach Tobi Bischof said. “We knew there were only three New York teams who have ever won it. Now, the boys have found a way to win it and bring it back to New York, and we’re really happy about that.”
Meanwhile, Under-13 Girls PSG MI Gators 02 Orange (MI), Under-13 Boys Baltimore Celtic Darby 01/02 (MD) and Under-19 Gretna Prima 95/96 Green (NE) each claimed National Championships. Gretna Prima’s title marked the first for a team from Nebraska.
On Sunday, the Under-14 through Under-18 Boys and Girls Championship matches will take place at the Mohawk Soccer Complex, with games scheduled to kick off from 8 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.
A few highlights from Saturday’s final matches…
Under-13 Girls: So Cal Blues Baker (CA-S) 1-2 (PKs) PSG MI Gators 02 Orange (MI)
PSG MI Gators 02 Orange (MI) (RII-C) won the Under-13 Girls championship defeating So Cal Blues Baker (CA-S) (RIV-C) in penalty kicks. The match went to halftime scoreless, leading to believe that both teams would have a match similar to their 0-0 preliminary match on Wednesday. In the 51st minute however, PSG broke through the stalemate on a corner kick play. So Cal Blues tried to clear the ball, but PSG serviced it back in and forward Madison Medalle got a beautiful header to put the Gators in the lead. As play continued, So Cal pressured and produced multiple corner kicks in an effort to get back in the match. Sure enough a corner kick play helped the Cal South side, and defender Lillian Shea saved So Cal Blues with a stoppage time goal, taking the match to overtime. After the 1-1 score remained in overtime, penalty kicks were needed to determine a winner. PSG went up first and got goals by Arianna Jalics, Justina Gaynor, Caitlin O’Malley and Emily Mathews. Intermittently, So Cal players Rilee Harmon, Isabella DAquila, and Marisa Bubnis also found the back of the net. As So Cal’s fourth kicker took a shot, PSG keeper Emma Bourtorwick got a block tapping the ball up and out. All that was needed was one last PSG goal to end it, and midfielder Jessica Koje slotted it in for the victory.
“It’s almost a feeling of relief right now,” said PSG Gators Head Coach Jeremy Harkins. “I’m so happy for those girls. All the tears really tell the story. This is by far the best team that they’ve ever played and it’s because they worked so hard that they got it done.”
Under-13 Boys: Baltimore Celtic Darby 01/02 (MD) 1-0 (PKs) EC Real Galaxy FC 01 (CA-N)
Both teams rested players in the final game of the group stage in which Celtic won 3-0, but the full strength of each team were on display as they battled for the Under-13 National Championship title. In a game between the two highest scoring teams in the age group, the unexpected hero would turn out to be the Celtic keeper Grant Farley. Both teams seemed nervous at the start as neither could keep possession. Celtic seemed to settle down and aim for the long ball on the counter as Real Galaxy looked to link up with the speedy Jacob Mayer. Mayer had the two best looks of the entire game when in the first and second half he broke through for 1v1s with Celtic’s Farley. In the first half, Farley made a stellar kick save to keep the score at 0-0 and then in the second half came out and made another strong 1v1 save against Mayer to keep the score 0-0 at the end of regulation. Overtime was more of the same back and forth action as the teams slowed down and were visibly tired. Real Galaxy seemed to have the game in hand when Celtic was called for a handball in the box for a Galaxy penalty kick in the final seconds of the game. Farley made another huge save as he dived to his right and pushed the ball wide of the goal to send the game to kicks from the mark. Celtic took the win with a 4-3 advantage as Farley once again came up big saving the final kick to give his side the win.
“It was an unbelievable game with everything you’d expect in the National final with two teams that definitely deserved to be here,” said Celtic head coach Mike Lookingland. “Our goalkeeper came up huge. We just added Grant about six months ago and he’s never played goalie until this year. Grant is an extremely hard worker and to save a pk in the last minute of OT and to get that last save, thank goodness he’s dedicated to his craft. I am so excited for him and for our team.”
Under-19 Girls: Gretna Prima 95/96 Green (NE) 1-0 (PKs) FC Nova Nationals (ID)
The Under-19 Girls National Championship featured two teams from states that have yet to win a National Championship as Gretna Prima 95/96 Green (NE) and FC Nova Nationals (ID) squared off to decide who would hoist the Ross Stewart Cup. The match featured two players with U.S. Youth National team experience in Gretna’s Michelle Xiao and Nova’s Grace Hancock. Goals were hard to come by as the match remained a scoreless stalemate past regulation and extra time; requiring penalty kicks to determine the winner. Gretna keeper scored the Nebraska side’s first penalty kick and saved another as Gretna would ultimately win Nebraska’s first National Championship in penalty kicks.
“The girls were so excited to play together one more time. They are such a close team and to win the whole thing is extremely amazing,” Gretna head coach Doug Trenerry said. “This year starts my 40th year of coaching so I have been doing this for a while, and obviously this is very special. It is one of the most special groups I have been with.”
Under-19 Boys: Massapequa Arsenal (NY-E) 3-1 St. Louis Scott Gallagher (MO)
For the first time in 56 years, a New York team claimed the James P. McGuire Cup, as Massapequa Arsenal (NY-E) defeated St. Louis Scott Gallagher (MO), 3-1, in the Under-19 Boys final. Arsenal put the pressure on from the opening whistle and secured a lead just three minutes into the game. The SLSG keeper got his hands on a low drive through traffic, but Arsenal’s Michael Farese was in the right spot and hit home the rebound to put his side in front. Massapequa threatened with a couple of dangerous free kicks shortly after, but SLSG fended them off and play evened out. Shortly after halftime, Scott Gallagher netted an emphatic equalizer when Steven May hit a volley from well outside the box that flew inside the left post. Arsenal earned a chance to regain the lead in the 67th minute when it drew a penalty, and Nicholas Cestaro converted his kick from the spot to put the Eastern New York side back on top. Brendan Gallivan extended the lead to 3-1 with another penalty kick, and Arsenal held off a late push by SLSG to take the 3-1 victory and claim the McGuire Cup. The championship caps off a long run for Massapequa Arsenal, as many of the players have been playing together since they were 8 years old.