Washington Premier FC 95 Black,
Eastside FC 94 Red Excel at Nationals
Washington Youth Soccer teams place second and third at youth soccer's most prestigious championships
While many Washington Youth Soccer players were splashing in the pool or working on a new skill for the 2011-12 season this summer, two of our state's top-performing squads traveled across the country to compete for national titles in the US Youth Soccer National Championships Series and US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup.
Coach Daniel Strom's Eastside FC 94 Red, who captured a State Championship in June followed by a Far West Regionals Championship title earlier this summer, ventured to Phoenix, Ariz., July 27-31 to compete in the highest level of youth soccer in the United States. At the US Youth Soccer National Championships, Eastside FC faced champions from the other three regions of US Youth Soccer and select wildcards.
Right from the start, Eastside FC showed the same dominant defense that allowed only one goal during Far West Regionals, shutting out their first opponent — Pennsylvania West's Beading SC — by a 1-0 score. James Molyneux-Elliott, who also plays for Skyline High School in Sammamish and is a part of our Elite Player Development program, scored the goal for Eastside FC in the 78th minute, giving the boys an early advantage in the three-game preliminary round.
After a narrow, 1-0 defeat to Minnesota Thunder Academy on Thursday, the Eastside FC boys came back strong with a 1-0 win against 2010 national runner-up Albion White of Cal-South. Molyneux-Elliott again netted the winner for Eastside FC, as they handed Albion White their first loss of the week.
The win left Eastside FC with a 2-1 record and six points at the end of the preliminary round, identical to Albion White and Georgia's Concorde Fire Elite. Only two teams could advance to the final, however, and on goal differential, Concorde placed first (plus 5) and Albion second (plus 2), leaving Eastside FC (plus 1) to accept a hard-fought third place by the narrowest of margins. Concorde Fire ultimately won the National Championship, defeating Albion White 2-1 in Friday's final.
"What a fantastic performance and an incredible showcase of the level of soccer being played in our state," said Technical Director Gary White of the Eastside FC 94 Red's third-place finish. "Certainly, it's tough to finish tied for first in the preliminary round and not get a chance to play for the final, but that's soccer — someone had to be left out, and unfortunately it was our boys. They really left everything they had out there on the field, though, and should be very proud of all that they accomplished this year."
While Eastside FC's 94 Red boys were competing in Phoenix, Washington Premier's 95 Black girls team were basking in the glory of their own success from the US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup Nationals in Iowa., July 8-11 where they competed against the champions from the other three regions of US Youth Soccer.
The Tacoma-based team rolled through its first two games, outscoring opponents by a seven-point margin. Madison Adams scored twice to lead Washington Premier to a 4-2 win over Texas Rush Nike 95/96 on the tournament's opening day, while Whitney Lowe led Washington Premier to a victory against Region I champions, Capital United (NY) the following day, scoring two of the goals in a 6-1 WPFC win.
A 1-1 draw with Region II champions, KC Fusion-Cummings left Washington Premier FC Black atop the round-robin standings with an undefeated record, and set up a championship rematch against Fusion on Monday. Fusion scored first, with Ali Smith finding the back of the net in the fifth minute. Washington Premier fought hard for an equalizer throughout the game, flooding forward to attack, before KC Fusion put the game away with a second goal in the closing moments.
The second-place finish for Washington Premier FC 95 Black was the best for a Washington Youth Soccer team since 2009, when the same club's U14 girls reached the finals of their division.
"We're extremely proud of the way Washington Premier FC's 95 Black squad represented our state at nationals," said Gary White, Washington Youth Soccer's Technical Director. "They played hard on the field, and were respectful and professional in all of their activities and interactions throughout the week with other teams, coaches and referees. To reach the finals of a tournament of this size is a remarkable accomplishment, and I'm sure this will just make them even hungrier to take that last step forward next year."
For more information on the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series, Presidents Cup or any other state- or US Youth Soccer-sponsored competition, visit the "Tournaments" page at WashingtonYouthSoccer.org.