To highlight their first year of operation, Brad Friedel's Premier Soccer Academies organized the World Youth Tournament that attracted under-16 national teams from Chile and Venezuela to their campus in Lorain, Ohio, but the winner was the Rush Select XI, representing the Rush soccer program headquartered in Colorado.
Left winger Zachary Portillos-Grant's overtime goal lifted the Rush Select XI to a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers' U-16 academy team.
"I look at this as the biggest event we've ever won," Rush Select XI coach and Rush Soccer technical directorErik Bushey said.
Rush Soccer fields more than 33,000 players across 21 clubs in 19 states, but used a pure Colorado connection to score the winning goal. Denver resident Paolo Delpiccolo's set piece was not properly cleared by Blackburn's defense, allowing Golden resident Matt Kerridge to win the ball, push it to the end line on the left and square it with pace across the top of the 6-yard box, where Aurora resident Portillos-Grant used his first touch to score his second goal of the tournament inside the right goalpost.
Colorado contributed nine players to the Rush all-star team.
Chile edged Venezuela, 1-0, for third place. The other foreign entrant in the eight-team tournament was Chivas Guadalajara of Mexico.
PSA, which offers a full-time soccer experience for high schoolers, hopes to expand the tournament to 12 teams in 2008. It had its first major signing when Andrew Lubahn, who would have been a high school junior at Cathedral Prep in Erie, Pa., signed with Belgian club Cercle Brugge.
Aug. 17 in Lorain, Ohio
Rush Select XI 2, Blackburn Rovers 1 (OT). Goals: Chapelski 7, Portillos-Grant 85; Hitchock 10.
Rush Select XI --Perez, Davis, Kilmer (Kerridge, 55), Roberts, Saunders (Chabries, 71), Portillos-Grant, Tribett (Edelman, 96),Vaughan (Diaz, 75), Chapleski, Delpiccolo, Foxhoven.
Blackburn Rovers -- Swann, Jones (Cahill, 93), Pearson, Billington, James (Hands, 63), Murray, Bowen, Morrissey, Donegan, Hall (Evans, 41), Hitchcock.
Click here for more on PSA.
And click here for Rush's World Youth Tournament blog.