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PHOENIX (Jan. 9, 2014) – Washington Youth Soccer Elite Player Development (EPD) teams began their quest to claim the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) Region IV Championship today at Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Ariz. 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.
The Washington Youth Soccer EPD program is designed to mimic the process of U.S. National Teams, where the top players from their clubs are brought together to train and compete, in order to help prepare players for the next level of play. In 2013, seven Washington Youth Soccer EPD players were invited into U.S. National Team training camps. U.S. Soccer National Team, US Youth Soccer Regional Team, professional and collegiate programs all have scouts in attendance this weekend in Phoenix.
Washington Youth Soccer EPD teams got off to a good start on day one with six wins, three losses and two draws. However, Washington Youth Soccer Technical Director, Timo Liekoski, felt Washington teams are doing the right things to accomplish their ultimate goal – to further develop the players involved.
“The pleasing aspect was that all of our teams that played today tried to play soccer the right way – build out of the back and use possession to get into goal scoring opportunities, etcetera. Unfortunately, the results don’t work out in all cases, but there was no kick and run which was very nice to see,” remarked Liekoski.
“We have some very good individual players. What makes them good is that they want the ball, they’re willing to take responsibility with the ball and they bring the game forward. So, that is one thing that we are on the right track with and we do have some very good individual players that obviously we need to keep an eye on for their development.
“What we really want is for the players to get exposure. We face different types of soccer playing against different states and playing against good competition. But above all, if the players can realistically evaluate themselves from this competition on what’s good with their game and what needs improvement, I think that is one of the primary aspects of this tournament in addition to being scouted for possible collegiate, Regional Team and maybe even National Team tracks. But, just gaining knowledge in where your game is at I think is most important.”
Play will resume tomorrow as many Washington teams face crucial matchups in their quest to advance in the competition. 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 3-1 Nevada
After Nevada evened the score just after halftime, the 97G persevered to regain the lead and take a 3-1 win. Maggie Richey put Washington in front in the 25th minute but Nevada leveled in the 55th. It didn’t take long for Washington to reply however, assuming the lead once again two minutes later through an Emilee Greve strike. Mia Baker Corbin added the insurance goal to deliver the win for Washington.
1998 Girls: Washington 1-1 Arizona | Washington 0-0 Hawaii
The 98G struggled to find the results on day one despite two solid performances in which they dominated the run of play. Against Arizona, Peyton Chick put Washington ahead just before halftime, but Arizona leveled just after the break as Washington couldn’t break through for the game winner.
In their second game of the day versus Hawaii, neither team could find the back of the net and Washington was left to ponder two good performances without a win.
1999 Girls: Washington 1-2 Utah
The 99G dropped a heartbreaker to Utah 2-1 after assuming the lead. Washington took the lead in the first half when Hannah Taylor fed the ball to Jenna Killman, and Killman buried a shot in the corner from 18 yards out. However, Utah leveled before halftime and with five minutes left in the game drew a foul in the box and converted the penalty kick to steal the win.
2000 Girls: Washington 5-0 Idaho | Washington 1-1 Hawaii
A dominant first game, which produced a 5-0 win over Idaho, was replicated in the second game against Hawaii, but without the goals as the 00G settled for a win and a draw on day one. Summer Yates led the way versus Idaho with a brace as Sydney Wilson, Jadyn Edwards and Taylor Smith each added scores. Despite hitting the posts three times against Hawaii, Washington was unable to convert and the game ended 1-1.
2001 Girls: No game on day one
1997 Boys: Washington 0-1 New Mexico
The 97B struggled to get going out of the gate and fell to New Mexico 1-0. After a scoreless first half, New Mexico struck the game winner just after halftime and Washington couldn’t respond in the loss.
1998 Boys: Washington 2-1 Alaska
Despite just a 2-1 victory over Alaska, the 98B produced a dominating performance to start the weekend off. Washington went ahead after only five minutes when Andrew Young finished off an Alex Beauchene pass. Alaska pulled level against the run of play in the 70th minute, but Garrett Miyaoka put Washington back in front five minutes later on Beauchene’s second assist.
1999 Boys: Washington 3-1 New Mexico
After shaking off some early nerves, the 99B rebounded from a 0-0 halftime score versus New Mexico to take the game 3-1. The team responded from a positive halftime discussion by taking the lead on a goal by Shuma Katori, assisted by Frederick Kleeman, however New Mexico evened the score from a long-distance strike. The 99’s showed their resolve though, assuming the lead for good when Kleeman turned goal scorer when he pounced on a loose ball outside the box and sent it into the far-side net. Some good combination play led to the insurance goal as a buildup through midfield let to a sneaky flick from Katori and Stirling Russell ran through to finish the game 3-1.
2000 Boys: Washington 6-1 Alaska
The 00B wasted no time demonstrating their intentions as they took a 5-1 halftime lead against Alaska and cruised to a 6-1 final score. Justen Ho started the scoring thanks to a pass from Gabe Threadgold before Evan Stark added the second on an assist from Dane Helle. Michal Chung kept things going with help from Jacob Bloomfeldt, Elliot Misic scored unassisted and Bloomfeldt notched the fifth before the break on a Derek Carpenter assist. Alaska pulled one back before halftime, but Starke grabbed his second goal of the game just after the restart from another assist Helle to ice the game and look towards tomorrow.
2001 Boys: Washington 6-0 Alaska
The 01B came to play, and they showed no mercy with four first half goals en route to a 6-0 victory over Alaska. Six players contributed goals, with Mitchell Hutter, Hayden Miller, Ethan Fuerte and Kevin Giessler notching strikes in the first half. Nafthanael Padilla and Johnathan Guglielmetti finished the scoring in the second half.