Jefferson Cup Boys Weekend, Day 2 recap: Teams prove competitive mettle
By Jimmy LaRoue
The winds calmed, the weather warmed, and the Jefferson Cup continued to produce some great soccer on day two Saturday.
In other words, the weather is the weather, and the Jefferson Cup is the Jefferson Cup. And, no matter the conditions, the 900-plus teams that came to the Richmond area found the competition to their liking, making the necessary adjustments to the elements and to the teams while continuing to try to impress the hundreds of college coaches in attendance.
Some teams, like Oklahoma FC’s U16s and the Wasilla, Alaska-based Mantanuska AKFC’s U-13 and U-15 teams came to the Jefferson Cup simply to find competitive matches.
Oklahoma FC has won their state tournament five of the past six years, with parents of the players saying they’ve gone everywhere from Arizona to Florida, and obviously, Richmond, to find the best-of-the-best to play against.
Mantanuska AKFC, meanwhile, has a bigger challenge–the travel. Seattle by car would take the team 48 hours to drive. The team’s coach, and their players, say they struggle to find competitive matches in a still-developing state, speaking of its soccer culture.
The 27 players and two coaches that made the trip traveled 15 hours from Anchorage, to Denver, to Chicago and then to Richmond before driving down I-64 to Williamsburg and the Warhill Soccer Complex.
While players were looking to showcase themselves, they are still competitive, and some interesting matches took shape, including one between Upper Freehold/Allentown NJ Strikers and the North Carolina Fusion 96 Elite, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Through day two, both the U13s and U15s were proving their competitive mettle, even as their coach, Troy Letherman, says it’s not about results, but quality games.
The high quality of play extends to the younger age groups, who demonstrated defensive prowess without being rigid, showing off some stellar, individual moves.
The tournament also tests some of the top referees, with the Jefferson Cup not just a showcase for players, but also for the men and women working the lines and in the middle.
We’ve given you some of the sounds from day one and two; now here’s some of the sights from the first two days of the tournament (Day 1 photo slideshow, Day 2 photo slideshow).