US Youth Soccer Region II Midwest Championships kick off in Fox Cities, Wisc.
Preliminary Games – Day 1 of 3
Schedule, Standings and Scores
FOX CITIES, Wis. (Via US Youth Soccer) – The 2015 US Youth Soccer Region II (Midwest) Championships kicked off Saturday at USA Youth Sports Complex and Southwest Park in Fox Cities, Wis. Teams comprised of state champions, US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League champions, and select wildcards, commenced day one with hopes of advancing to knockout rounds, and ultimately earning a berth to the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
The 214 participating US Youth Soccer Boys and Girls teams in the Under-13 through Under-19 age groups represent 14 State Associations – host Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association, and Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio North, Ohio South and South Dakota.
Eight teams are back this year to defend their 2014 US Youth Soccer Region II Championship title. Four Girls teams include: Under-15 Girls Cleveland FC (OH-N), Under-16 Girls Alliance Academy 99 Black (MI), Under-17 Girls FC United Select (IL) and Under-19 Girls Cleveland United White (OH-N). The Boys’ side includes: Under-14 Boys WAZA FC East 01 Juniors (MI), Under-15 Boys Sporting KC Academy (KS), Under-17 Boys Chicago Magic PSG Preacademy (IL) and Under-18 Boys Chicago Fire Raiders Elite (IL).
Standout U-14 Boys team WAZA FC Juniors (MI) is not only defending a Regional Championship, but a 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championship as well. The Michigan team won the crown by going unbeaten at both the Regional and National US Youth Soccer National Championship Series events. Today, they showed that streak isn’t ending by getting a 7-0 win against Minot Magic FC (ND).
“No matter how good of a team you have, and how successful you have been, you can’t rest on last year’s accomplishments,” said U-14 Boys WAZA FC Juniors (MI) Head Coach Gronthik Chatterjee. “You have to earn it again, every single time. That’s why competitions like this are very important and useful for us. It’s a fantastic feeling to come back and try to defend our championship.”
Under-15 Boys Sporting KC Academy (KS) came back ready to defend their 2014 Regional title, as they defeated DASC Impact (SD) with a powerful 7–0 victory. Max Rugova contributed heavily to the win scoring two goals in each half – his first goal merely seconds after the starting whistle. Mason Visconti also added a first half goal, and Colin Innes and Luke Rafanan each scored in the second half.
Two-time Regional Champion Under-17 Boys Chicago Magic PSG Preacademy (IL) (2011/2014) got a close 4-3 win against Ohio Premier Green (OH-S). Ohio Premier started the match with a 2-0 lead after goals by Javier Steinwascher and Brady Whittekind. Chicago Magic got on the board in the 31st minute when Kalenga Selemani found the back of the net. As the match neared the end, Grant Ugarte found the Chicago Magic tie in the 85thminute. The goal picked up Chicago Magic’s spirits, and the advantage shifted when Selemani scored his second goal in the 86th minute and Achara Ifunanyachi got a 90th minute goal. Jack Holland scored for Ohio Premier immediately afterward, but the final whistle blew giving Chicago the win.
Chicago Fire Raiders Elite (IL), the Under-18 Boys returning champ, earned a point today after a 3–3 draw against Sporting St. Croix (MN). The match went back and forth. Sporting St. Croix’s Connor Stevenson scored first in the 25th minute, but Chicago Fire tied the match with a 36th minute Henry Hilling goal. Sporting regained the lead in the 45th minute after Zachary Boerjan’s goal, but Chicago once again found the equalizer with Ian Larson’s 68th minute goal. Juan Carlos Lujan put Chicago Fire on top this time with a goal in the 70th minute, but with just seconds left in the match, Zachary Boerjan’s relentless goal saved Sporting St. Croix from defeat.
Under-15 Girls Cleveland FC (OH-N) is eager to return to the US Youth Soccer National Championships for the chance to win it all. The defending regional champs got all the way to the semifinal round last year, and this year came close to earning a ticket there by placing third in the US Youth Soccer National League. They started the tournament with a 5-0 win versus CRSA (IA). Kayla Fischer scored in the 6th minute of play, followed by a pair of Vanessa DiNardo goals. Emily Arellano closed the strong first-half performance by scoring in the 37th minute, and Shannon Narolews added a final goal in the 74th minute.
Returning champ Under-16 Girls Alliance Academy 99 Black (MI) got a 3–0 shutout versus Cleveland FC (OH-N). Madison Alexander notched a pair of back-to-back goals in the first half, and Celeste Martinez contributed to the win with a 57th minute goal.
Under-17 Girls FC United Select (IL) dropped their first match 4-1 to tough contender, and National League champs, Michigan Jaguars 98 Green (MI). The Jaguars dominated the match scoring three first half goals by Mollie McGorisk, Marisa Pyden and Taryn Emerson. Chloe Allen scored Michigan’s fourth straight goal in the second half. Blerina Saipi was able to put FC United on the board in the 84th minute after receiving a crossed ball and volleying it into the net.
Under-19 Girls Cleveland United White (OH-N) are not only defending their regional title, but aiming to get a second National Championship after earning the cup in 2013. The Ohio North squad got a 2-2 tie in their opening match against SC Waukesha Strike FC United (WI). Katie Bainbridge scored for Cleveland United in the 37th minute from a corner kick play. SC Waukesha’s Marie Lesperance tied the match in the 52nd minute, and Abigail Toureene gave Waukesha the lead in the 56th minute. The 60th minute saw an own goal in Cleveland United’s favor ultimately resulting in a final 2-2 draw.
All eight returning champs finished with five wins, one loss and one tie at the conclusion of the first day. All teams return tomorrow for the second day of preliminary play aiming for a golden ticket to Nationals.
“It’s hard because there are many teams competing, and we’re getting everyone’s best game; we’ve got that target,” said WAZA Coach Chatterjee. “That means you have to be just that much better than last year. Any time you have an opportunity to compete for a national championship, in any sport, at any level – it’s a rare, rare opportunity. We were so lucky. We worked very hard last year to get there. If we were able to win this Regional Championship, and defend our title, and get back to Nationals, it would be a huge accomplishment.”
Regional winners will earn a berth to the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championships, July 21-26, at the Mohawk Soccer Complex in Tulsa, Okla. The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the Under-13 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-14 through Under-18 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 teams.
Daily reports and complete results from the Region II Championships are available on http://championships.
To view all of Saturday’s results, check out the schedule, standings and scores website.