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PHOENIX (Jan. 11, 2014) – The championship matchups are set at the 2014 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) Region IV Championships, and four Washington Youth Soccer Elite Player Development (EPD) teams will compete for the title on Sunday at Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix. Boys and Girls state teams in the 1997-2001 age groups are playing for the ODP Regional title, and winners of the 1997 and 1998 age groups are also competing for the opportunity to advance to the US Youth Soccer ODP National Championships in March in Frisco, Texas. Other than California South, which will play in every title match, no state advanced more teams into the finals than Washington.
It was an electric atmosphere today as the knockout rounds got underway, and Washington EPD teams were in the thick of the drama with seven teams looking to advance to the final. Four Washington Youth Soccer EPD Boys teams qualified for the semifinals and all four moved on to the championship game. Unfortunately, the three EPD Girls semifinalists all suffered defeat, but will compete in third place games tomorrow. The three teams that did not advance to the semifinals were still in action in consolation brackets as U.S. National Team, US Youth Soccer ODP Regional Team, professional and collegiate coaches were still in attendance evaluating players.
Although all Washington EPD teams have performed well, compiling a 21-10-5 (W-L-T) aggregate record, the 2001 Boys have stood out by winning all three of their games while scoring 10 goals from eight different players and conceding none. The ‘01 Boys faced a tough test in the semifinals against Arizona, but after a scoreless first half were able to produce the winning goal to prevail 1-0. The team’s skillful, possession-oriented style has had opponents baffled on how to unlock the Washington side.
Hayden Miller stepped up to provide the game winner today for the ’01 Boys, and he put the EPD program in perspective after the game.
“The goal was a great feeling, just pure joy! But the last 15 minutes I thought we did great to see the game out,” stated Miller. “This experience has been really great! I’m having a great time with my teammates and the tournament has been amazing. We haven’t let up a goal so far and all three games we’ve played well. It’s just been really fun.
“I think being here has opened up my world a little bit because back in Seattle you kind of feel like you’re big-time and one of the best, but then we come here and get exposed to all these other great players and you realize there’s always someone out there who is just as good or better than you. So, it just keeps me wanting to work hard.”
Washington EPD ’01 Boys Head Coach Paul Bayly stressed the experience over the results despite his team’s dominant performance to this point.
“There’s a couple things we want the players to get out of being here, but number one is that they’re always playing against each other with their clubs, they don’t know each other and they’re all the best players from their clubs. Now, all of a sudden they’re becoming friends and even though it’s always a battle in their club games, now they actually get to know each other. They’re away from their parents, they’re working hard together, and I think they can go home with the experience of this and understanding what it takes to get to the next level,” said Bayly. “Every one of these players’ eyes are open, their heads are open and they want to get better. Whether they win or lose here is irrelevant to the game of soccer, it’s the experience.”
Also demonstrating the development opportunities of the EPD program was the 1997 Boys, who after losing to New Mexico on the opening day of play, pulled off a dramatic second half comeback victory over the same team today in the semifinals. The team now faces Cal-South in the championship match for the opportunity to advance to the ODP National Championships next March. Playing alongside club rivals, the team was given a boost from fellow Washington EPD teams comprised of the same collection of club rivals. [VIDEO link]
Play will resume Sunday with championship, third place and final consolation games. Follow Washington Youth Soccer on Twitter at @WAYouthSoccer for game updates, news and photos, and see the results and standings here. To learn more about Washington Youth Soccer EPD, visit WashingtonYouthSoccer.org/Programs/Elite_Player_Development.
1997 Girls: Washington 0-4 California South (Semifinals)
After two wins, the 97G ran into Cal South in the semifinals. Cal South got on the board in the first half but Washington stayed tough into the second half. Needing a goal, Washington gave up some things in the back and allowed Cal South to break through three more times to take the game 4-0.
1998 Girls: Washington 3-0 Nevada | Washington 4-0 Alaska
Two draws in group play weren’t enough to advance as the 98G moved into the consolation bracket. Washington notched their first win versus Nevada, converting three second half goals from Makaylie Moore, Lillianne French and Peyton Chick.
The 98’s moved on to face Alaska and finished strong with their second straight shutout win. Chick, Elly Aronson, Mckaley Goffard and Cierra Mattern all found net in their final game.
1999 Girls: Washington 1-0 PK’s Oregon (Play-in) | Washington 0-1 Utah (Semifinal)
The 99G earned a spot in the play-in game for the chance to advance to the semifinals. Neither team could find a goal after regulation and overtime, so the team had to go to penalty kicks for the second straight day. Olivia Van der Jagt, Cameron Tingey and Jenna Killman all scored from the spot and keeper Dakota Barnes saved to Oregon attempts, giving her four saves in the two shootouts, to stay alive and move onto the semis.
Washington met up with day one foe Utah, and unfortunately came up a goal short once again as Utah struck the game winner 15 minutes in and Washington couldn’t break through to find a goal.
2000 Girls: Washington 3-0 New Mexico
The 00G finished strong with a 3-0 victory over New Mexico. Jadyn Edwards tallied in the 3rd minute and Taylor Smith added another before halftime. Makena Carr added the final goal in the second half.
2001 Girls: Washington 0-1 PK’s Colorado (Semifinal)
Washington and Colorado battled in an entertaining 0-0 game that needed 7 rounds of penalty kicks after scoreless regulation and overtime. Keeper Kylie Foutch and defenders Rae Gerking and Katie Sanders did well to keep Colorado off the score sheet and Grace Nesbitt used her speed out wide to get behind the CO defense, but no goals could be found. Kaylee Coateny, Malia Hanson, Ammanya Robinette, Maddie Kem and Peyton Fisher all scored from the spot in the shootout and Foutch made one save, but Colorado prevailed 6-5.
1997 Boys: Washington 2-1 New Mexico (Semifinal)
After an opening day loss, the 97B did enough to advance to the semifinals where they faced their first opponent, New Mexico, once again. In the 18th minute, New Mexico again took the lead over Washington, but the 97’s showed their character battling back to tie the game after some great individual play from Jaddir Gonzalez, who slid by several defender before firing a shot off the keepers finger tips and into the back of the net. Washington rode the momentum and Rio Alcorta converted a cross at the far post with a one-time shot to send the 97’s into the final. The crowd was raucous at the end of the game, with several Washington and New Mexico teams on the sidelines chanting for their respective side in an entertaining match.
1998 Boys: Washington 1-2 Oregon
The 98B played perhaps their best game of the tournament, but that doesn’t always reflect in the result as they dropped the game to Oregon, 2-1. Washington got on the board first in the 35th minute from a Khalid Mohomed goal on an assist from Yitagesu Dowty. In the second half, Oregon tied the game when keeper Gavin Kramer made the initial save, but Oregon put in the rebound. Oregon scored the go-ahead goal six minutes later but Washington put in a good performance overall on the week. Washington keepers Kramer and Lars Helleren combined for nine saves on the day.
1999 Boys: Washington 2-0 Arizona (Semifinal)
The 99B faced Arizona in their semifinal and Coach Dan Pingrey decided to mix up the formation against the unfamiliar side. Washington jumped out of the gate with several early chances, and Alex Bradbury gathered a ball in the box, took on his defender and drew a foul for a penalty kick. Ibrahim Yusuf stepped up to convert the kick and put Washington up 1-0. Ten minutes later Jack Slugs sent a free kick into the box and Sergio Palomino got on the end of it to double the score. Arizona tried to step up the pressure in the second half, but the Washington defense was stout as they frustrated their opponent and seal the shutout and keepers Sean Carlin and Sam Dawson were excellent between the pipes.
2000 Boys: Washington 1-2 Utah | Washington 1-0 OT California North (Semifinal)
The 00B lost their first game of the tournament in the morning, falling to Utah 2-1, however their performance the past two games were good enough to move onto the semifinals. Two penalty kicks for Utah put Washington down 0-2 in the first half, and Dane Helle scored off a cross from Andre Hamilton to cut the lead, but Washington wouldn’t get any closer.
In the semifinal, Washington was pitted against Cal-North for the right to play for the championship. After a scoreless regulation, the teams headed to overtime where Elliott Misic drew a foul 25 yards from goal. David Mansfield stepped up and struck a beautiful freekick to put Washington in front and move on to face Cal-South in the final.
2001 Boys: Washington 1-0 Arizona (Semifinal)
The 01 Boys continued to roll, knocking off Arizona 1-0 in the semis to advance to the final. Hayden Miller became the eighth player to score for Washington this week and the defense posted their third straight shutout.