US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships – Day 1 Recap
SAGINAW, Mich. — More than 220 teams, including three defending US Youth Soccer National Champions, kicked off the 2019 US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships, Friday at the Saginaw Township Soccer Complex in Saginaw, Mich.
Teams in the 13U-19U age groups from all over the Midwest took the field with the goal of taking the next step toward claiming the coveted US Youth Soccer National Championship in their respective age group.
The 2019 US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships feature 224 of the top boys and girls teams from the 14 State Associations that make up the US Youth Soccer Midwest Region, as well as Pennsylvania West teams who qualified through US Youth Soccer Great Lakes Conference play. Preliminary games will be held June 21-23, with semifinals on June 25 and finals taking place June 26.
Nine defending Midwest Regional Champions are competing this week in Saginaw, and the challengers wasted little time in signaling it won’t be easy to repeat. Friday’s action saw just three of the nine defending champions come away with wins.
In the 17U Boys age group, Galaxy 2002 Boys Blue (IL) knocked off 2018 Midwest Regional champion Club Ohio 2002 Green 1 (OH-S) in a matchup of teams who have already compiled strong seasons in 2018-19.
“They won their Great Lakes Conference, and we won the Midwest Conference. So, right off the bat you had conference champions facing off,” Galaxy head coach John Thurow said. “The biggest thing was getting the boys prepared mentally. We knew this would be a big game. There are no easy games, but this is the one we looked at as one where we needed to get some points.”
Thurow said the atmosphere surrounding regionals provides an opportunity for his players to enjoy a unique experience, and he stressed the value of having fun while competing. Still, Galaxy knows the importance of refocusing after its opening day win.
“It does give us confidence,” Thurow said of the win. “But we have to respect everyone. If you’re not on your game, every single team here is going to put the ball in the net and they’re going to beat you. It’s a good start, but it’s just the first step.”
A few notes from Friday’s games:
A goal on either side of halftime helped SC Waukesha 06 Boys Blue (WI) to a 2-0 win over Indy Premier 06 Elite 1 (IN) on Friday. Ryan Wrobleskifound the back of the net in the 21st minute to put SC Waukesha in front — giving the Wisconsin side some momentum heading into halftime. Waukesha added to its lead in the early minutes of the second half when Daniel Schneidler recorded his first goal of the week to put his side up, 2-0. The Waukesha defense made sure those goals held up, as it registered a shutout to help give the Wisconsin side three points to open its Group C campaign.
Lou Fusz Geerling 05 (MO) struck for a pair of goals in the second half to earn a 2-0 win against CUP 05 Gold (OH-S) in Group B action. The Missouri side nearly broke through just minutes after the break, but an Amelia Martin header from a corner kick hit the crossbar. Lou Fusz kept pushing and grabbed a lead in the 60th minute, as Cambell Watters ran on to a bouncing partial clearance following a corner kick and hit a half volley that deflected just over the goal line. Five minutes later, Morgan Struttmann doubled the Lou Fusz advantage when she perfectly placed a shot over the keeper and inside the far post. The Missouri side held on for the shutout to open its week with three points.
Javanon 04 Boys Black (KY) and St. Croix Academy (MN) are looking up at CFJ City 2004 (IL) in Group D after the Kentucky and Minnesota sides played to a scoreless draw on the opening day of the Midwest Regional Championships. Each side generated some pressure in the attacking half, and St. Croix nearly produced a highlight reel goal in the opening half when a dipping shot from the top of the box rang off the crossbar. Neither side managed to break through before the final whistle, as Javanon and St. Croix each took a point from the draw. With a win on Friday, CFJ City 2004 (IL) is at the top of the Group D standings after one day of play.
A strong second half helped propel Iowa Rush 2003 (IA) to a 4-0 win over Gretna Prima Green 03 (NE) to begin Group A play. Iowa generated plenty of corner kicks in the opening half, while Gretna produced its best chance in the 23rd minute when a cross to the back post found an open player, who pulled her shot just wide of the left post as a defender applied pressure. After spending plenty of time in the attacking half, Iowa managed to break through on a 44th-minute Madisson Watts strike. Makenzie Roling later netted back-to-back goals to extend the lead to 3-0, and Elizabeth Overberg found the back of the net in the final minute to cap the 4-0 victory for Iowa.
Galaxy 2002 Boys Blue (IL) earned a key 4-2 win against defending Midwest Regional Champion Club Ohio 2002 Green 1 (OH-S) in Group A action. Club Ohio started quickly and grabbed a lead two minutes into the match when Young Mu Lee found the back of the net. However, Galaxy turned the momentum of the game and gained control — beginning with first-half strikes from Shea Bechtel and Myles Barry — to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. Bechtel added another goal in the 56th minute and sent the keeper the wrong way to convert an 84th-minute penalty kick, which gave him a hat trick and pushed the Galaxy advantage to 4-1. Ohio Premier immediately responded, as Wesley Rhodes slotted a shot inside the right post, but Galaxy held on to secure the 4-2 victory.
In Group B, Pacesetter Villa Red (OH-N) got off to a strong start with a 5-1 win against Sporting Iowa 2001 Academy 1 (IA). Gabriella Pool and Grace Turski each netted early goals to give Pacesetter a 2-0 lead after 13 minutes of play. However, Sporting Iowa’s Blake Morrow found the back of the net shortly after to pull her side within a goal. That score line didn’t last long, as Pool recorded her second goal of the game in the 19th minute to reestablish the Ohio North’s two-goal lead. Addison Graham added to the scoring to push the Pacesetter lead to 4-1 after a frantic start to the game. Pool completed a hat trick with a goal early in the second half, which capped the scoring in Pacesetter’s victory.
A trio of second-half goals helped Nationals Union 00 Black (MI) pull away for a 4-0 win against Group A foe KS Rush Academy 00 (KS). Rocco Galati needed just four minutes to put Nationals Union in front, and the Michigan side held that narrow advantage for the remainder of the opening half. After the break, KS Rush applied sustained pressure but couldn’t equalize. Nationals Union regained control of the match and doubled its lead when Lorenzo Palazzolo made a near-post run and headed home a driven corner kick. Galati added another to push the lead to 3-0, and Alejandro Steinwascher capped the win with a goal in the final minutes of regulation.
Regional winners of the 13U through 19U age groups earn a berth to the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 22-28 at the Overland Park Soccer Complex in Overland Park, Kan.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the 13U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the 14U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of teams.
Daily reports and complete results from the US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships are available on championships.