Germantown, Maryland – The first four titlists of the 2014 United States Youth Soccer Championships were crowned Saturday night, with boys and girls winners in the youngest and oldest groups claiming the spoils.
The U13 competition is both the youngest age group and the most recently added competition, only being introduced in 2013. Neither of the inaugural victors, Legends FC (Ca.-S) for the girls and Pateadores (Ca.-S) got back to the final, so we had two new winners on Saturday.
Michigan powers WAZA FC had an easier than it sounds 2-0 win over California club FC Golden State. Judging by their reaction, the young Michiganers expected nothing less, seemingly taking this championship in stride.
Maybe the WAZA boys just expected to win. WAZA beat this opponent by the same score on Tuesday, then added 4-0 and 3-0 wins on the way to the final.
The girls game was another California vs Michigan encounter, although it was a far different affair, with Surf Academy needing to go to penalty kicks to eliminate the Michigan Hawks 1-0.
Then there were the big boys, and girls. The U19 games were held at the Maryland SoccerPlex Stadium, a fine venue to hold a final. Virginia’s VSA Heat brought a large and vocal crowd of supporters, and in the end gave those fans plenty to cheer about in seeing off the challenge of Chicago Academy-Botafogo 1-0.
The Virginians were the better team on the day, although they managed just that one goal. Left fullback Autumn Berry scored it, and it was a long range bomb of a goal.
Berry was part of a airtight Heat back four, led by captain Meghan Cox, who won the Golden Ball in this age group. Cox’s central defense partner Caitlin Hite and right fullback Madison Smith completed the Heat’s Fantastic Four, one that offered almost as much going forward as in defense.
The boys game finished with the same 1-0 scoreline, as Georgia’s Concorde Fire Elite overturned last year’s loss to the New Jersey based PDA Harkes to win their second title in three years.
This match was as close as the scoreline indicated, and it took a fantastic goal from Khallil Stewart to separate the sides. Stewart did well to control a long ball over top, and then kept his composure to beat Kieran McCarthy for the winner. Goalkeeper Kyler Kelsey came up with several big plays to keep Harkes PDA off of the scoresheet and the title went to the Georgia boys.
Those exciting finals came at the end of a day that had already seen soccer fans treated to a full morning of semifinals at the Maryland SoccerPlex with semi’s held in five age groups for both boys and girls.
Action got underway early with an 8 am start on what became an ideal day to enjoy the beautiful game. Most of the games were closely contested and fans saw overtimes, one shootout and just a couple of one sided games.
As far as thrills went the U17 Boys topped the day, with FC Dallas Youth spotting Ohio side, Cup Gold, a 2-0 lead before storming back to send the match to extras where the Texans swept to a 5-2 victory.
FCD will face Manhattan SC PSG in the final Sunday morning at the SoccerPlex Stadium at 10:40 am. The city slickers advanced on penalty kicks at the expense of Fullerton Rangers.
Penalty kicks are always a cruel way to bow out of any competition, much less a national final, so it was surely a long flight home for the California boys.
But the unfortunate Rangers were not emblematic of a trend on the day, no less than seven of the 20 teams contesting Sunday’s finals are from sunny California, by far the most from any state.
Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio have two representatives each, with Georgia, Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas, New York, Virginia and hometown Maryland each placing one team in the national finals on Sunday.
Sunday, JULY 27
8:00 AM | Under-14 Boys National Championship – United FA 00 Elite (GA) vs Real Colorado National 99/00 (CO)
8:15 AM | Under-14 Girls National Championship – Legends FC 99 (CA-S) vs NEFC Elite (MA)
8:30 AM | Under-16 Boys National Championship – Baltimore Celtic 97/98 (MD) vs OP Eagles Green (OH-S)
8:40 AM | Under-17 Girls National Championship – VSA Heat 96 Blue (VA) vs DMCV Sharks Elite (CA-S)
9:00 AM | Under-18 Boys National Championship – Lehigh Valley United 95 (PA-E) vs Santa Barbara FC White (CA-S)
9:40 AM | Under-18 Girls National Championship – Cleveland United White (OH-N) vs Beach FC Ingrassia (CA-S)
9:50 AM | Under-15 Boys National Championship – United FC Gold 98 (CA-S) vs Pateadores San Diego (CA-S)
10:20 AM | Under-16 Girls National Championship – Tampa Bay United 97 Premier (FL) vs Beach FC 97 Academy (CA-S)
10:40 AM | Under-17 Boys National Championship – FC Dallas Youth 97 Premier (TX-N) vs Manhattan SC PSG 96 (NY-E)
11:10 AM | Under-15 Girls National Championship – Jacksonville FC 98/99 Elite (FL) vs YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E)