(Scroll down for complete results from the U16 age group. Thursday we will report on the U17 age group, and you can read the U15 report, including full results, HERE)
ZAREPHATH, NEW JERSEY – I watched U16 ECNL matches on the 2nd day of the PDA Memorial Day Showcase, and as is usually the case, the middle day is the best competition of such an event. Tempo was good and tenacity was better. Mostly it was just good watching so many talented players in one venue, which is obviously how the hundreds of college coaches present felt as well.
Here are some of the highlights from what I saw of this age group:
Chad Harper’s Mustang SC team earned a 3-1 win over a game Colorado Rush team, but perhaps the most spectacular highlight was the singing performance delivered for my camera afterward by injured defender Samantha Evans backed up by her teammates (see video above).
OK, maybe not good enough for Glee – but we’re glad they performed for us anyway.
Harper said that family atmosphere is a big part of his team’s success, so if that involves some off-key singing, so be it. Listen to him talk about his team!
In the match, the Northern California side enjoyed some strong defending from Pepperdine-bound Jamie Van Horn and excellent skill up front from Nathalie Marie, while midfielder Alyssa Herwatt provided the team with some guts and goo.
But it was Colorado who scored first, on a good strike by Lauren Conley, good for a 1-0 halftime lead.
Mustang equalized in the 2nd half through Erika Perez. The team then took the lead when Alessandra Dutto made a strong run down the right and hit a good cross through the goalmouth that Marie did well to collect and calmly place in the back of the net. Chelsea Arnold then scored the final goal for a 3-1 result, again on a setup by Dutto.
Defender Whitney Szeliga put in a good shift for Rush.
Concorde Fire had a lot of the possesion and chances in its match against Pleasanton Rage, but were not able to break through for a goal in what ended up as a 0-0 draw.
Brian Moore’s team has an excellent midfielder in Sydney Shultis, who provides solid linking play, is technically sound and provides some oomph to the team’s attack. Molly Moroney is another strong player for the Georgia side, running down a lot of plays in the back line.
Pleasanton generated some offense later in the half, much of it through strong running down the right wing by Brianna Nichols. The best chance for the Northern California side though was when Kylee Smith made a good run into the offensive third and uncorked a fierce shot that Concorde goalkeeper Ashley Fleck had to stretch to save. Fleck then did well to punch a dangerous serve from the corner kick clear.
Concorde defender Nikki Brandley was making some good reads in the back line as the 2nd half unfolded, but it was Shultis who began taking over the game, serving good ball after good ball into dangerous spots, both from set pieces and open play. A combination of poor finishing and some excellent work by Pleasanton goalkeeper Brielle Preece kept the Georgians out of the net.
Preece’s brightest moment came when her team was whistled for a handball in the box and a penalty was awarded. She showed quick reflexes in blocking the shot to preserve a draw for team. Ironically it was the excellent Shultis who was stymied on the PK.
Concorde kept pressing in the closing minutes but Preece made another big save, from point blank range, after Shultis had set up Sydney Lurie for a good chance. Pleasanton also got resolute defending at the end from Precious Akanyirige, Haley Chow and Micaela Scafani.
Eclipse Select got a spark from a guest player. U15 player Maya Neal was invited along with the older team to play at the event, and she made a big impact on the Sunday game with Stars of Massachusetts, which the Chicago-area side won 3-1.
Nicole Niro had put Eclipse up early by bundling home a ball after a good serve from Katy Karabetsos. Stars showed they were dangerous too as Brittany Moreau turned in some good runs followed by some good passes, one which found Taylor Cogliano, who narrowly missed on her goal-scoring effort. Kylie Plaza holds the ball well in midfield for Stars. Eclipse midfielder Meg Sadera is a hard worker and technically sound.
When Neal was inserted into the match, her terrific pace immediately became evident, and she exploited the Stars’ high line along with midfielders Karabetsos and Angela Waddle, who played some good balls into space. Neal took another pass from Riley Sykes, ran into the Stars’ penalty area, cut back and fired home for a 2-0 lead.
Stars almost answered immediately but Eclipse defender Nicole Niro cleared a shot off the line. Niro is a good combination of strength and skill, while fellow back line player Genevieve McGowan is a calm, cool and collected leader and Waddle is a pillar of strength, with good vision added, in midfield.
Stars were still battling however and early in the 2nd half, Brooke Murphy hit a shot from a sharp angle that required a quick reflex save from Eclipse goalkeeper Kaylee Price. Eclipse killed off the match however when Noelle McCullom finished off a corner from Katy Karabetsos for a 3-0 lead.
Stars’ Rachel Morrier scored a late consolation goal on a well-struck free kick for a final scoreline of 3-1
FC Virginia scored a 2-0 win over Real Colorado. Terry Foley’s team got goals from Brittany Fary and Kaitlyn Dorka. They can describe their efforts better than I ever could, so here is what they had to say.
They are PDA, not Slammers. I should have asked somewhere why PDA named its U16 team the Slammers, but I didn’t. To be clear, this is about the team from New Jersey that Mike O’Neill coaches, not the Southern California club masterminded by the brothers Khoury.
PDA looked good on field turf Monday, defeating Sereno SC 4-0. The team is loaded actually. One of many strong attacking players is Natasha Ntone Kouo, who got things rolling with a good run and pass that set up Colby Ciarrocca for the game’s opening score.
Just minutes later, Lauren Jankowski scored a nice goal, fighting off a pair of challenges before driving a shot home. Caroline Chagares, another top-flight attacking player, then made it 3-0 on an excellent header from a precise cross by Meghan MacDonald.
Macdonald is a big-time defender who has already committed to Boston College. Her commanding presence and intelligent direction in the back would be an asset for any team, and she looks as if she could excel on the college level already, but she’s got another year of high school left.
Jankowski, easily the smallest player on the field, found the back of the net a 2nd time in the 2nd half to provide the final score of 4-0. Then she told us all about it. Forget that I twice referred to her team as U17, it has another month to go as a U16 squad.
Scorpions SC 2, Virginia Rush 1
SC Del Sol 3, Penn Fusion SA 1
Pleasanton Rage 1, FC Virginia 0
Heat FC 1, Birmingham United 0
Slammers FC 2, Carmel United 0
Concorde Fire 1, FC Delco 1
McLean Youth Soccer 2, Real So Cal 1
Dallas Sting 4, Eclipse Select 1
FC Stars of Massachusetts 4, Mustang 1
Freestate SA 3, Sereno SC 1
Las Vegas Premier SC 1, World Class FC 1
Ohio Elite SA 2, Gwinnett SA 1
Eagles SC 2, East Meadow 1
PDA 1, San Diego Surf 0
SoccerPlus Connecticut 0, Irvine Strikers 0
Dallas Texans 3, FC Bucks 2
Colorado Rush 2, West Coast FC 2
Ohio Premier Eagles 1, Real Colorado 1
Connecticut FC 2, Solar-Chelsea 0
De Anza Force 4, Minnesota Thunder 1
Albertson Fury 1, So Cal Blues 0
Arsenal FC 1, Bethesda SC 1
FC Delco 0, Dallas Texans 0
Mustang SC 3, Colorado Rush 1
East Meadow 1, Irvine Strikers 1
Heat FC 3, De Anza Force 1
Connecticut FC 4, Virginia Rush 1
Concorde Fire 0, Pleasanton Rage 0
SC Del Sol 1, SoccerPlus Connecticut 0
Eclipse Select 3, FC Stars of Massachusetts 1
World Class FC 2, Gwinnett SA 0
Bethesda SC 3, Slammers FC 1
Eagles SC 2, McLean Youth Soccer 1
Scorpions SC 1, Las Vegas Premier 0
Real So Cal 1, Penn Fusion 0
Dallas Sting 0, Ohio Elite SA 0
Carmel United 2, Sereno SC 1
PDA 2, So Cal Blues 1
Ohio Premier Eagles 2, Birmingham United 1
Solar-Chelsea 2, Minnesota Thunder 0
Arsenal FC 2, FC Bucks 1
San Diego Surf 2, Albertson Fury 1
FC Virginia 2, Real Colorado 0
West Coast FC 4, Freestate SA 2
Ohio Premier Eagles 2, Gwinnett SA 0
Connecticut FC 4, Penn Fusion 1
FC Virginia 2, Minnesota Thunder 0
Carmel United 4, San Diego Surf 1
East Meadow 2, Real So Cal 1
Arsenal FC 1, Dallas Sting 1
Mustang SC 2, Albertson Fury 0
World Class FC 3, Concorde Fire 2
Slammers FC 2, Dallas Texans 1
FC Delco 1, Pleasanton Rage 1
Las Vegas Premier 1, Virginia Rush 0
De Anza Force 5, SC Del Sol 0
Heat FC 1, Irvine Strikers 0
Bethesda SC 0, So Cal Blues 0
West Coast FC 5, FC Bucks 0
PDA 4, Sereno SC 0
Eclipse Select 2, Colorado Rush 0
Birmingham United 2, McLean Youth Soccer 2
Scorpions SC 5, Real Colorado 0
Eagles SC 3, SoccerPlus Connecticut 0
FC Stars of Massachusetts 1, Ohio Elite SA 1
Freestate SA 2, Solar-Chelsea 1