U.S. YOUTH SOCCER: Three-peat for Arsenal FC U-17 boys

Arsenal FC won its third straight national title when it captured the under-17 boys group at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships on Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa. Eclipse SelectÆs bid for a third straight title ended when it was eliminated in a shootout on Friday in the under-18 girls group. So Cal United (U-15 boys) and the Dallas Texans Red (U-18 boys) also repeated as national champions.

Under-14 Girls
Elmer Ehlers Cup
ISC Strikers (CA-S) vs. Hershey Attack (E-PA), 1:0

The Strikers and Hershey met in round robin play where the Strikers defeated Hershey (1:0). In todayÆs final to determine the Elmer Ehlers Cup Champion, the score would remain the same in favor of ISC Strikers.

The lone goal came from the StrikersÆ Julie McKee who took on the Hershey defense and scored in the 45th minute. The Strikers, two-time US Youth Soccer Region IV Champions, would fend off the Hershey Attack and claim the cup as US Youth Soccer Under-14 Girls National Champions.

ôIt was the biggest shot IÆve had,ö said Julie McKee who was awarded the adidas golden boot for most outstanding player. Teammate Makenna Henry learned of the individual awards from the official tournament program.

ôI read about the (adidas) golden glove and I wanted that,ö said an emotional Henry who was awarded the adidas golden glove winner.

Under-14 Boys
US Youth Soccer National Cup
Dallas Texans (N-TX) vs. Valley United Blast (CA-S), 2:3

Three-time US Youth Soccer Region IV Champion, Valley United Blast met Dallas Texans to see which side would be crowned champion and raise the US Youth Soccer National Cup on the awards stage. Valley UnitedÆs Eduardo Gonzalez would score two (11:00, 49:00) to take the 2:1 advantage over the Texans.

Adding to the lead was Valley UnitedÆs Dillon Short in the 54th. The Texans tried to fight back and scored in the 59th but time expired and the score remained 3:2 in favor of Valley United.

ôThis is tremendous, we are very proud of these boys,ö said Julio Castilla, Valley United Blash head coach. ôDallas (Texans) was an unbelievable team and they will be here next year for sure.ö

Under-15 Girls
Kristine Lilly Cup
Eclipse Select (IL) vs. PDA Pride (NJ), 4:0

The Kristine Lilly Cup was between two first-time teams to the US Youth Soccer National Championships in the Eclipse Select and PDA Pride. The Eclipse offensive was too much for PDA as the Eclipse strikers peppered their opponent with sixteen shots.

Ali Hall scored first for Eclipse in the 8th and her Iowa-native teammate Chelsea Cline added to the total in the 34th. Stephanie Iantorno added two more (61:00, 69:00) for the 4:0 win.

ôThis is a special group of players that we were able to put together with the purpose of winning the US Youth Soccer National Championships,ö said Mike Nesci, head coach for Eclipse Select. ôToday we played as close to perfect as possible.ö

Under-15 Boys
adidas Cup
So Cal United (CA-S) vs. FC Delco Hammerheads (E-PA), 4:0

Defending 2004 national champion, So Cal United was led by upcoming U.S. Soccer Residency Player, Evan Rayner who scored early and often. He scored three goals (11:00, 59:00, 70:00) and was focused on the chance to repeat as champions. Following the match he was awarded the adidas golden boot award for most outstanding player.

Joining Rayner on the awards stage was Elmer Abelar who won his second adidas golden glove award for outstanding keeper. So Cal finished the 2006 US Youth Soccer National Championship Series play at 16-0-2.

ôI am happy to hold this in my hand,ö said Rayner who just joined the team this year. ôThis is awesome.ö

Under-16 Girls
Patricia L. Masotto Cup
Real Colorado National (CO) vs. Edmond SC 90 Black (OK), 4:2

Two-time US Youth Soccer Region III Champion, Edmond SC ran into a Real Colorado National team that was looking to make the most of their first-time in the tournament. Real took the early advantage (3:0) and looked poised to hold. Edmond SC made a charge of their own thanks to a goal in the 55th (Kaylie Garcia). It took Real four minutes and a play from Jennifer Kmezich, her second of the match, to bring the advantage back to three. EdmondÆs Jordan Calhoun scored in the 62nd and the match ended there (4:2).

Christina Palomino, Real keeper and adidas golden boot winner thought, ôAll three finals in the (US Youth Soccer National Championship) Series stood out and really gave us a chance to test ourselves.ö

Under-16 Boys
D.J. Niotis Cup
Baltimore Casa Mia Bays (MD) vs. Concorde Fire Elite (GA), 4:0

After two rounds of play the Under-16 Boys division was tied in all categories. Breaking through on Friday was our two finalists, Baltimore Casa Mia Bays with a decisive 3:0 win and Concorde Fire Elite with a 4:3 win. In todayÆs championship final, the Bays continued their balanced play on both sides of the ball.

Leading the defensive effort was BayÆs keeper Dan Louisignaus, who kept the scoreboard clear of any Concorde success.

ôYou just have to play your heart out and thatÆs what we did,ö said Louisignaus.
The Bays first played together 11-months ago, today raised the D.J. Niotis Cup as champions on its 30th anniversary.

Under-17 Girls
Laura Moynihan Cup
Eclipse Select (IL) vs. Spirit United Gaels (E-PA), 4:1

It took overtime to decide who would raise the Laura Moynihan Cup as the US Youth Soccer Under-17 Girls National Champions. Jessica Price scored in the 18th for the Eclipse and Nicole King tied the score for the Gaels at the 43rd. Price would score her second and third (98:00, 108:00) and teammate Kelly Lynch added another in the 115th to complete the comeback and on the 15th anniversary of the Cup, claim the Laura Moynihan Cup as US Youth Soccer Under-17 girls national champions.

ôThis is a great life lesson, to make a goal and then make the necessary sacrifices you can get what you want,ö said Eclipse Select head coach Rory Dames. ôThis is a special group of kids and the depth of our team lead to the success amid this weekÆs heat.ö

Under-17 Boys
Don Greer Cup
Arsenal FC vs. Solar 89 SC, 3:1
Today was a very familiar site as Arsenal FC and Solar 89 SC have met to determine the last two national champions (2004, 2005). Today one team would walk away with either their historic third title in as many years or one would win their first national championship. Solar came out attacking early and Casey Herd scored on a full volley in the 2nd. Arsenal would collect and tie thanks to Hector Jimenez in the 20th. Daniel Rodriguez added another just before the half and Daniel Ortega finished a ball in the 58th to give Arsenal the 3:1 win and ink their names in the history books of youth soccer.

The only team to have three consecutive national titles is the Central Valley Mercury from California who accomplished the feat in 1998 as Under-18 Girls. Arsenal FC becomes the first boyÆs team to record the æ3-peatÆ.

öWe knew we could do it,ö said Daniel Ortega. ôBut we had to prove it.ö

When asked about the chances of four, Arsenal FC head coach Steve Lucey said, ôWe havenÆt fully digested three in a row yet, but we will give our best efforts in coming back. That I will guarantee.ö

Under-18 Girls
Francis J. ôFrankö Kelly Cup
PDA Wildcats vs. Dallas Texans Red 88 North, 1:3

The PDA Wildcats entered todayÆs final with an undefeated record in round robin play. Standing in the way of the Under-18 Girls ôFrankö Kelly Cup was the Dallas Texans 88 Red North who took on the back-to-back national champion Eclipse Select in a shootout to earn their place in the finals.

The Texans have been making a habit of coming from behind this week and down one goal to none with 15 minutes to go, the Texans looked even up the score. Whitney Palmer made a play on the left side of the field and capitalized in the 78th. With renewed energy they would continue to fight and score in the 86th (Leslie Briggs). Palmer froze the keeper and played a left-footed shot to seal the victory in the 90th.

Golden boot and team captain Whitney Palmer, ôWe knew we wanted to be here and we kept fighting.

K.C. Crabb assistant coach for the Dallas Texans said, ôThis team was put together for this match and they will now be immortalized as national champions. We will look to defend this title next year in our own backyard.ö

The 2007 US Youth Soccer National Championships are scheduled to be played in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

Under-18 Boys
Andy Stone Cup
Chicago Magic (IL) vs. Dallas Texans 88 Red (N-TX), 0:0 (3:5)

Dallas Texans 88 Red boys coach David Hudgell watched the TexanÆs girls come from behind to claim their title and considered the keys to his match today against the Chicago Magic who defeated the Texans in pool play 3:1. ôWe have to establish our play early on,ö said Hudgell. ôWe have played up and down all week; I hope itÆs there (level of play) today.ö

The Magic have advanced to three US Youth Soccer National Championships and entered this week hoping the third times a charm. Overtime was needed as neither side could score in regulation. In overtime, the Texans Omar Gonzalez, who spent time at a nearby hospital earlier in the week for I.V. treatments, scored on a header but the goal was called offside. As was the case in regulation, neither side scored in overtime.

The Texans hit first and at 2:1 Tyler Sullivan, Texans keeper, reacted and stopped the MagicÆs second attempt. Patrick Rickman touched at least two of the shots trying to defend for the Magic goal but came up just short on deflections. The Texans would win the shootout (5:3) and their second national championship in two years.

öThis is the best thing ever,ö said Texans keeper, Tyler Sullivan. ôThe first one (national title) was hard but this was so much harder.ö

ôFor either team, to lose on penalty kicks was going to be tough,ö said Hudgell. On winning their second championship he said, ôThis year was far more difficult with Jonathan Villanueva not here (with U.S. Under-20 National Team) and the numerous injuries that we encountered this week but this just feels great.ö

Under-19 Girls
Ross Stewart Cup
Eclipse Select (IL) vs. Colorado Rush Nike (CO), 2:3
Rushing to an early lead with goals from Amanda Lathrop (13:00) and Ameera Adbullah (23:00) and Sarah Wagenfuhr (32:00), Colorado appeared to be in position to claim their national crown.

The Eclipse Select girls would dig their way back into the match with strikes from Crysti Howser in the 53rd and 82nd but Howser and her Eclipse side would come up just short, losing by one.

ôItÆs not just another win, you are winning the national championships,ö said Tim Schulz head coach for the Colorado Rush. ôThis was our first year to qualify and the journey here was fantastic.ö

Of the sixteen Rush players on the roster, all have received scholarships to play for NCAA Division I schools.

Under-19 Boys
James P. McGuire Cup
Arsenal FC (CA-S) vs. Javanon SC (KY), 2:3
Looking to raise the oldest trophy in youth sport, James P. McGuire Cup, Arsenal FC met Javanon SC in the Under-19 Boys final. No stranger to the James W. Cownie Soccer Park, Javanon won the 2003 US Youth Soccer Region II Championship at the complex as Under-16s.

Today Javanon took the lead early in the 5th on a goal by Danny Walcott and that score would hold until the second half when ArsenalÆs Cesar Rivera scored to tie in the 73rd. Javanon would add two more to ArsenalÆs one to win by the score of 3:2.

ôIn 2003 we werenÆt as balanced,ö said Bruce Yeagle, head coach for Javanon. ôThis is one of the best moments of my life.ö YeagleÆs son Derrick is the teamÆs assistant coach and Darren is a player for Javanon.

öI knew my coaches were pushing us and expecting our best,ö said Darren Yeagle, adidas golden boot winner.

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