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4 Utah Teams Play in National Championship Tournament; 2 Teams Advance to Finals, Fall in Close Matches

 
 

Frisco, TX - 8/29/18

4 UYSA teams: Utah FC 99 Black 19U Girls, Sparta JK 00 18U Boys, La Roca 02 16U Girls, USA Premier 02 16U Girls all spent a week in Frisco, Texas competing against the Nation’s best teams for a chance to be crowned National Champions.

Sparta’s 18U Boys and USA Premier’s 16U Girls had a tough round of pool play and did not advance out of their groups.

Sparta

 

Sparta, in their 3rd straight appearance at National Championships, went 0-3 in the tournament with 3 goals for and 8 against. These boys played tough against teams from Maryland, Nevada and Michigan. Their first two matches were against the eventual Championship and second place teams. According to Sparta coach, Justus Koelliker, “we played very good soccer, we controlled possession and created good chances to score, we just couldn’t get the ball to go in the goal. We hit the crossbar, the posts, missed open goals, it really shows you that if you don’t take advantage of your opportunities, the other team will.” Scoring for Sparta with 1 goal each were Max Bingman, Fabian Gonzalez Limones and Arturo Martin Pimentel.

Koelliker’s team is compromised of mostly young players, all but four will be returning next season. After the last game he emphasized to his four boys moving on that, one, he’s thankful to have had the opportunity to coach the boys throughout their soccer careers. He’s so proud of their hard work and dedication. And two, he told them as they grow and experience new obstacles in life it’s important to keep moving forward and keep working to be a better person in whatever you do. And for the rest of the team who will be returning he challenged them to set a goal and get back next year. “Realize how close we were, see how small the difference between us and the teams that moved on to semi’s and finals are, and know that we need to work harder and push a little extra to be where we want to be next time.” Koelliker mentioned that at the tournament they encountered a team with the worst sportsmanship he’s ever seen, but he was so proud of his boys for not partaking in that and holding themselves to a higher standard. “They represented themselves and Utah well. I’m proud of them for that.”

 

USA

 

USA finished pool play with a record of 1-2, scoring 3 goals and allowing 4. The girls lost their first two matches in hard fought battles. In their first match they lost a player to injury for the remainder of the tournament, falling in the end 2-1 after a penalty was awarded to SJEB Rush (the eventual National Champions) and game 2 was played during the hottest part of the day – Coach Patrick Rennie said of the game, “the other team made so many saves off the line, both their keeper and defenders kept them in the game”. In the end they needed the match between SJEB Rush and Fullerton Rangers to go their way and a 2-0 win against North United Rush in game 3, but when SJEB Rush and Fullerton Rangers ended their match 0-0 and it was clear USA could not mathematically advance, the 2-0 lead that they worked so hard for was all for not. Although they won their final match 2-1, they did not advance out of the group.

“The girls fought hard and I am so very proud of them both on and off the field. They learned so much and we now know we can compete at a National level. We fully plan on making it back here next year, and they’ll be able to take this experience and be even more successful. The girls battled hard and even in defeat, they came back to the complex and cheered on their Utah Sisters – La Roca – in their semi-final match, all genuinely happy for their victory and advancing to the finals. My girls stepped up, they played the best soccer they’ve played and this experience will help them moving forward.” Rennie said.

Utah FC 99 Black 19U Girls and La Roca 02 16U Girls both advanced out of pool play- Utah FC straight to the finals and La Roca to semi finals and then on to the finals after a win against Fullerton Rangers 5-0.

 

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Utah FC 99 Black 19U Girls finished with a tournament record of 1-1-2, scoring 9 goals and allowing 4. They went 1-0-2 in pool play and advanced themselves straight to the Championship Final. In pool play the girls played teams from Georgia, Texas and Illinois. Top scorers for Utah FC were Karli Nyland with 3 goals and Tess Donaldson and Alaina Testana with 2 goals each. Coach of Utah FC 99 Black, Eric Brady said his girls really enjoyed the tournament and were so excited to play on such a huge stage. He said it was unlike any tournament they’ve ever played in and the nerves definitely showed. But he’s excited for them to take this experience and use it as they continue their soccer careers in college. In the championship match vs. NSA Shock from Illinois, a rematch from a pool play match where Utah FC tied NSA 1-1, Brady was so proud of how his team played. “They had great chemistry and even though we lost the match, we played better in the second game than the first.”

Brady fears the size of their roster may have been a factor for his team who traveled only 16. “In the third match we needed to get a result. NSA knew they were already through, so they were able to sub liberally and didn’t have to put a ton of energy into the game like we did.” Even though there was a day of rest before the Championship match, NSA was able to have an advantage with fresher legs. Brady feels that his team out-skilled NSA in both matches and hopes this give his team confidence as they move forward. He’s proud of how they represented themselves against an aggressive team. Brady says, “They were athletic and aggressive, and not just physical, it was beyond any level of physical play I’ve ever seen. There were 2 yellows and 1 red handed out. The girl was ejected for ripping a player down by her pony tail. Their whole strategy was to foul as soon as we touched the ball and not allow us an opportunity to take a shot. This type of soccer is a gamble, there’s a 50/50 chance the referee will call it and they took that risk.” Brady and his Utah FC girls left National Championships proud of who they are, the style of soccer they play and feeling accomplished for all they’ve done together as a team. “Every time we lost we asked ourselves why and we got better. We had a growth mindset and we’ve never stopped trying to improve.”

 

La Roca (2)

 

La Roca 16U girls went 2-0-1 in pool play to advance themselves to semifinals where they defeated Fullerton Rangers out of California 5-0. In their 5 tournament matches they went 3-1-1 with a whopping 16 goals for and 4 against. They beat teams from Texas and California in pool play and tied to the Wisconsin team. Brynlee Meyerhoffer and Caroline Stringfellow shared Golden Boot honors with 4 goals each while Meyerhoffer and Tiana Fonoti were members of the tournament’s Best XI. Head coach, Felipe Diaz, said that things were a little rocky going into the tournament with concerns from parents and players on what was next for this team. Success for this group has brought new opportunities for the team and there was a divide on what the future should look like. Diaz was concerned that this division had affected play too much at State Cup and Far West Regionals and he took the time leading up to National Championships to ask his team to refocus and commit to the task at hand- winning the tournament. “We talked with them about how important this tournament is and how no one has ever won the championship for the State. We talked about how we need to play together and finish the job- then we can talk about next year.” The girls bought in and steam rolled their first two opponents 4-0 each. “They committed, they were super close,” Diaz says. “Team chemistry made all the difference for them. I’m really proud of the changes they made to get the work done.”

In the Championship Match against SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue out of New Jersey, Diaz said his girls were superior in every aspect. He said it seemed like La Roca possessed the ball 80% of the time and had the control. They were two minutes away from the title when a late goal in stoppage time evened the playing field. “After that it was a rushed game. And even though we had possession, a turnover in midfield and their quick counter left us down 2-1.” Diaz said, “You see that in soccer today, teams who have all the possession don’t always win. Teams that are more defensive and counter quickly get the goals and see results.” Diaz said he would want to tell his team that he is proud of them and all their hard work. He is proud of how professionally they carried themselves. His message to his girls, “I am proud of how much you love the game. I hope you keep working, keep trying and follow your dreams. You’ll have another opportunity to get there, if you work hard you will be there. Stay positive and learn from your mistakes. But your love for the game will be what gets you there.”

Utah Youth Soccer Association is extremely proud of these four teams for reaching this level. It is only a matter of time until we have teams finish as National Champions. As all four coaches eluded to in their interviews: soccer can really be a cruel game. Even if you control possession or are a better side completely, any team can win on any given day. Great job, Sparta, USA, La Roca and Utah FC!

 

STATS/ROSTERS:

 

Sparta JK 00 18U Boys

Coached by Justus Koelliker

Tournament Record: 0-3

7/24/18 – Game 1

vs. Baltimore Celtic SC 00 (MD)

L : 1-2

*Baltimore Celtic would be the eventual National Champions

7/25/18 – Game 2

vs. Downtown LVSC 00 (NV)

L : 0-2

7/26/18 – Game 3

vs. Michigan Jaguars 00 Green (MI)

L : 2-4

GF: 3

GA: 8

 

Roster:

48 – Lincoln Augenstein

11 – Jake Babcock

77 – Max Bingman

18 – Seth Blasingim

34 – Carlos Brambila

06 – Brandon Cervantes

17 – Jason Chaves-Antunez

12 – Trevor Dillon

09 – David Gaspar Pacheco

10 – Fabian Gonzalez Limones

00 – Tanner Kennard

02 – Casey Lambert

03 – Kevin Lopes

16 – Gabriel Lopez Serrato

70 – Corbin Lowrance

19 – Arturo Martin Pimentel

30 – Luke Merrill

21 – Michael Neeley

22 – Justin Orr

24 – Dylan Rodriquez Ureche

 

USA Premier 02 16U Girls

Coached by Patrick Rennie

Tournament Record: 1-2

7/24/18 – Game 1

vs. SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ)

L : 1-2

*SJEB Rush 02 would be the eventual National Champions

7/25/18 – Game 2

vs. Fullerton Rangers 02 White (CA-S)

L : 0-1

7/26/18 – Game 3

vs. North United Rush (PA-W)

W : 2-1

GF: 3

GA: 4

 

Roster:

05 – Andelin Baldwin

07 – Erin Bridges

13 – Mackenna Doilney

11 – Sophia Ewing

23 – Gentrey Gibson

66 – Samantha Gordon

02 – Elizabeth Hoover

10 – Katie Houson

20 – Ani Jensen

14 – Emma Keith

06 – Hailey Povilus

01 – Samantha Rollins

09 – Jordyn Roth

16 – Emilie Rupprecht

03 – Annyka Scherschligt

28 – Sage Stott

0 – McKayla Wetsel

 

 La Roca FC 02 16U Girls

Coached by Felipe Diaz

Tournament Record: 3-1-1

7/24/18 – Game 1

vs. Sparta FC 02 Elite (TX-N)

W : 4-0

7/25/18 – Game 2

vs. Legends FC 02 Academy (CA-S)

W : 4-0

7/26/18 – Game 3

vs. North Shore United 02 Blue (WI)

T : 2-2

7/28/18 – Game 4 (SEMIFINAL)

vs. Fullerton Rangers 02 White (CA-S)

W : 5-0

7/29/118 – Game 5 (FINALS)

vs. SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ)

L : 1-2 (OT)

GF: 16

GA: 4

Golden Boot:

Brynlee Meyerhoffer – 4 goals

Caroline Stringfellow – 4 goals

Top Scorers:

Tiani Fonoti – 2 goals

Sarah Wynn – 2 goals

 

Roster:

22 – Anna Arnljots Tlatelpa

15 – Alysia Butters

06 – Shea Christiansen

03 – Kaitlyn Esquivel

12 – London Ewing

23 – Tiani Fonoti

05 – Rylee Gurney

13 – Lauren Howe

08 – Whitney Lopez

11 – Brynlee Meyerhoffer

02 – Laynee Miller

24 – Kylie Olsen

14 – Katelyn Olson

09 – Kaitlyn Richins

01 – Kaitlyn Stoker

10 – Caroline Stringfellow

04 – Kalea Woodyatt

07 – Sarah Wynn

 

Utah FC 99 Black

Coached by Eric Brady

Tournament Record: 1-1-2

7/24/18 – Game 1

vs. AFC Lightning 99 Elite (GA)

T : 1-1

7/25/18 – Game 2

vs. Invictus SC 99 (TX)

W : 7-0

7/26/18 – Game 3

vs. NSA Shock (IL)

T : 1-1

7/28/18 – Game 4 (FINALS)

vs. NSA Shock (IL)

L : 0-2

GF: 9

GA: 4

Top Scorers:

Karli Nyland – 3 goals

Tess Donaldson – 2 goals

Alaina Testana – 2 goals

 

Roster:

01 – Samantha Brady

07 – Ashton Brockbank

08 – Emma Card

14 – Bryanna Carson

10 – Julia Dean

09 – Tess Donaldson

06 – Hailey Hillock

36 – Moriah Lucas

11 – Olivia Midgley

00 – Marren Nielsen

04 – Karli Nyland

26 – Alaina Pestana

23 – Alexis Reed

16 – Camila Retamales

33 – Kelsey Salvesen

05 – Alyssa Spackman

02 – Tiana Tolman

 

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