Up-and-coming teams break out at PWSI Icebreaker
The 2015 PWSI Icebreaker Tournament concluded on Sunday with a final round of group play and championship matches. Potomac area teams from the U-9 to U-14 age groups competed for division titles while U-15s and U-16s fit their preseason event into one day with two games apiece, following cancellations on the tournament’s grass fields on Saturday.
Games were played on turf and on a few grass fields across Prince William County, with Howison Park, Veterans Park and Chinn Park serving as the primary locations for the boys and Long Park, Hellwig Park, Patriot High School, Potomac High School, Valley View Park and Lake Braddock High School hosting the girls.
Howison Park played host to six of the eight finals on the boys side in the U-13 and U-14 age groups on Sunday which featured several thrilling matchups. One of the hardest fought games of the day came in the U-14 Boys Pride White Division final in which North Carolina side WYSA 00 Explosion defeated McLean 00 Green in a scoreless match ultimately decided by penalty kicks.
Despite coming out on the wrong side of PKs, McLean pulled off the impressive feat of not conceding a single goal in any of their four games at the Icebreaker. For McLean, the tournament served as a warm-up for the opening round of the Virginia State Cup, which is approaching quickly after a long winter not allowing for very much outdoor training.
Four consecutive clean sheets at the Icebreaker validated some hard offseason work for the McLean side which has emphasized defensive cohesion during the winter months.
“I think we did well, we weren’t really concerned with winning a championship, we were trying not to concede any goals and we didn’t,” said McLean coach Mike Foss, a former player for the club and for George Mason University.
“One of the biggest things we’ve worked on this winter is team shape, making sure we stay compact,” said Foss, who is also co-founder of the USA Today Sports site “For The Win” and was recently named to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list for the 2015 Media category. “We’ve been coming up with different systems and this weekend gave us a chance to try out a couple new concepts. Overall as long as we stay defensively sound we’ll be in good shape.”
The final match of the tournament at Howison Park provided a glimpse of an up-and-coming team in the Potomac area, with DFC Vasquez Academy 01 earning its fourth win in two days to capture the U-13 top bracket. Vasquez defeated Alexandria SA 3-1, sealing the deal late in the second half on a header by Jefreey Medrano.
After conceding a first half goal, gritty defense and aggressive play up-and-down the field helped the upstart Vasquez side hand Alexandria its only loss of the weekend. Despite having only three seasons of experience as a travel team with a couple players including Medrano recently making the transition from recreational soccer, they were placed in the Icebreaker’s top flight and seized the opportunity.
“We played very aggressive and that’s why we made it through,” said DFC Vasquez coach Jose Venegas. “We have some very tough players and we’re extremely excited with where we’re headed as a team.”
Medrano has established himself as one of the team’s rising stars over the past year as he has grown more accustomed to the commitment level of travel soccer. Vasquez 01 scored 10 goals and allowed only two at the Icebreaker, going a perfect 4-0-0 in the top U-13 bracket.
Also in the U-13 boys age group, SYA Cardinals White defeated Loudoun Soccer Black 1-0 in the Pride Red final, ODFC Cesena 01 beat A3 Seahawks 2-0 to take the Pride White Division and VSA Heat 01 Gold blanked VISTA United 2-0 in the Classic Division title match.
Elsewhere in U-14 boys action, a second-half goal by Landon Watson helped DDFC Fury defeat Stafford Soccer 00 Revolution Blue 2-1 in the Pride Red Division final. NVSC United White blanked BRYC Raiders 3-0 in the Pride White final, and Reston 00 Rovers Blue won the top bracket with a 3-1 victory over New River United Blue in a high-paced match.
On the girls side, it started out cold and windy again Sunday morning at Long Park in U-9 through U-12 action. But as the weather warmed up later in the day so did the action on the fields. With championship trophies on the line the excitement on the sidelines from the parents was matched only by the effort and quality of the teams on the field playing for all the marbles.
The U-12 Courage Division saw neighbor club FC Virginia dominate, taking the final 8-2 over SAC Premier Blue. WBSC won the U-12 Pride Division final 2-1 over CCYSA Dynamite and Alexandria Heat Black took the U-12 Classic Division 4-2 over Fredricksburg FC Impact Premier.
VSA Heat Blue won the U-11 Courage Division 4-2 over PWSI Courage 03 Red, and VYS Fire Red beat BRYC United 2-1 to take the U-11 Pride Division.
PWSI Courage 04 Red won the U-10 Courage Division for the host club with a 1-0 victory over FCV Ashburn Black. Stafford Soccer Revolutino 04 Blue won the U-10 Pride Division with a 2-1 win over Loudoun 04 Silver.
Over at Lake Braddock High School, Montgomery SC Flash won the girls U-14 Pride White Division with a 1-0 victory against McLean 00 White. Virginia Rush edged out Fredericksburg FC Premier Impact 00 2-1 at Hellwig Park in the U-14 girls Classic Division final.
Reston SA Renegades Red beat PWSI Courage Red 2-0 to take the U-13 Courage Division title at Potomac High School, Alliance Eagles defeated Powhatan Fury Red 2-1 at Patriot High School in the U-13 Pride final and Virginia Rush 01 knocked off PWSI Courage 01 Pride 3-0 in the U-13 Classic championship. +Click Here for Full Results from the 2015 PWSI Icebreaker