Region IV US Youth semifinal hits high gear

by Will Parchman
January 22, 2016

PHOENIX (Jan. 9, 2016) — The semifinals are in the books at the 2016 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Region IV Championships at Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix. The four-day tournament features teams of elite players in the 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 age groups, from Region IV, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California North, California South, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The tournament will ultimately determine who represents Region IV in the 2016 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships in the 1999 and 2000 age groups. California South won three Region IV and National ODP Championships in 2015, while Utah 99 won the Region IV title last year, and ultimately became the first team from Utah to win the ODP Championships. 

Eight State Associations have teams in the finals. Cal South leads the way with five teams, Washington has four teams, Utah has three teams, Arizona and Cal North has two teams and Colorado, Nevada and Oregon have one team. 

With programs in all 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, US Youth Soccer ODP, the original Olympic development program, is available to any player. US Youth Soccer ODP is the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League, and the majority of current and past national and youth national team members, as alumni.

Match Highlights:

1999 Boys
Cal South 99 defeated defending Region IV and National ODP Champs Utah 99 in a rematch of last year’s final. Juan Reyes struck first for Cal South in the 15th minute, and Devin Cornejo increased Cal South’s lead to two. The defending champs put plenty of pressure on Cal South’s defense in the second half, but were unable to find the back of the net as Cal South will return to the finals.

Joining Cal South in the finals will be Washington 99 after a 6-1 win over Arizona 99. If the first 10 minutes were any indicator, goals would not be hard to come by as RJ Stretch got Washington on the board four minutes into the game, only for Josue Galvez to respond in the ninth minute for Arizona. However the rest of the game would belong to Arizona as they scored five unanswered goals including a Mario Vukic hat trick to go with goals from Ernesto Martinez and Lucas Meek.

1999 Girls
Despite the defending regional and national champs Utah 99 boys falling in the semifinals, the girls Utah 99 team advanced to the finals thanks to a 2-0 win over Cal North 99. Ashley Cardozo got Utah off on the right foot with a goal in the 13th minute, and Cameron Tucker added another in the 24th minute.

Joining their male counterpart in the finals are the defending Region IV and National Champions, Cal South 99 girls after a 2-0 win over Arizona 99 in the semifinals. Catarina Macario scored just six minutes into the match for Cal South. The score would remain 1-0 until the 65th minute when Ashley Johnson doubled Cal South’s lead in the 65th minute.

2000 Boys

In what was possibly the match of the day, Nevada 00 outlasted Oregon 00 in kicks from the mark despite the fact that Nevada held a 4-0 lead in the second half. Goals from Andres Mendoza, Bryan Martinez and John Lynam’s brace allowed Nevada to build the 4-0, but Oregon 00 responded in a big way rallying to a 4-4 tie thanks to goals from Brendan Herb, Marco Millan, Jacob McDaniel and Andrew Nunez. Neither team was able to score in overtime, so kicks from the mark were needed to decide who would go to the finals. Julian Herrera, a field player for Nevada took over in goal during kicks from the mark, and saved the first two shots as Nevada would ultimately win 4-1 in kicks from the mark.

The second semifinals match had plenty of drama surrounding it as well due to Cal South 00 completing a comeback against Washington 00. Joshua Lee nabbed the lead for Washington in the fourth minute, but just four minutes after that Noel Moncada equalized for Cal South. Tyco Libes grabbed the lead back for Washington in the 18th minutes, but Cal South was up to the task again, as Roberto Rodriguez scored Cal South’s second equalizer. Omar Ollarzabal scored the lone goal of the second half giving Cal South the 3-2 win.

2000 Girls

Utah 00 heads to the finals after a 2-0 semifinal win over New Mexico 00. Avery Fries broke the scoreless stalemate in the 22nd minute, and Kaitlyn Conley doubled the lead in the 28th minute. Utah was able to shut out New Mexico’s Alexis Baca, who scored five goals in her first two matches, but was unable to find the back of the net in the semifinals.

Utah will have to deal with another prolific scorer for the finals in Cal South 00’s Kailey Smith, whose two goals in the semifinals against Arizona 00 gives her six on the tournament. Skylar Smith, Kali Trevithick and Zoe Hasenauer also added goals for Cal South as they defeated Arizona 5-0.

2001 Boys
Washington 01 got off to a 1-0 start against Oregon 01 with Austin Mikesh’s goal in the third minute. Alex Diaz added a second goal in the 23rd minute, but the 2-0 lead was short lived as Edgar Monroy of Oregon responded thee minutes later. However, Oregon would not be able to pull level as the match ended 2-1.

Arizona 01 defeated Cal South 01 3-1 to earn a spot in the finals on Sunday. Fabian Mendoza Trejo began the scoring just six minutes into the match for Arizona. By the time six more minutes passed Arizona had doubled its lead to 2-0 courtesy of Christopher Ramirez Valenzuela’s goal. Masaki Ito cut Arizona’s lead in half in the 37th minute, but just two minutes later Ramirez Valenzuela added his second goal of the match and fourth in the tournament to give Arizona the lead and a spot in the finals.

2001 Girls

Oregon 01 secured a spot in the finals with a 1-0 win over Colorado 01. After a scoreless first half, Ava Bendetti broke the scoreless stalemate halfway through the second half. Oregon’s defense was able to complete the clean sheet for the 1-0 win.

Washington 01 got off to a dream start against Cal South 01 in the second semifinal with Natalie DeGagne scoring in the first minute of play. Under-15 U.S. Women’s Youth National Team player Madison Mercado equalized for Cal South in the eighth minute. Alexandra Palangi would score the game-winner late in the second half to give Cal South the 2-1 win, and ultimately s spot in the finals.

2002 Boys
Max Laguna and Victor Cano scored first-half braces as Cal South took care of business against Washington 02 in the first semifinal. 2015 ODP Region IV Championships Tournament 18 Team player Joshua Atencio got Washington on the board in the second half, but the match would end 4-1 in favor of Cal South.

Utah 02 earned the second spot in the finals tomorrow thanks to a 2-0 win over Cal North 02. Nathan Ortiz scored his fourth and fifth goals of the tournament in the eighth and 33rd minutes respectively to give Utah the 2-0 win.

2002 Girls

A Campbell Neste goal in the seventh minute and some stingy defense propelled Washington 02 to the finals after a 1-0 win over Oregon 02.

Washington will be accompanied by Cal North 02 (CA-N), who needed penalty kicks to get past Arizona 02 to win the second semifinal. Aubrie Labno struck first for Arizona in the 16th minute, but Kassandra Ceja would respond for Cal North in the 43rd minute. After two scoreless overtime periods, Cal North ultimately edged out Arizona in kicks from the mark to advance to the finals.

2003 Boys

Arizona 03 took care of business in the first semifinal against New Mexico 03 with a 5-0 win. Alexander Kessler’s hat trick gives him six on the tournament, and Riley Lynch added a brace.

Cal North claimed the other spot in the finals after pulling out a 2-1 win over Washington 03. Elijah Beverley began the scoring in the 30th minute, and Sota Kitahara responded for Washington in the 44th minute. It was Beverley again finding the back of the net for the game-winner in the 64th minute to send Cal North to the finals.

2003 Girls

Colorado 03 used a 1-0 win over Utah 03 to earn a spot in the 2003 Girls finals. Reece Wortmann’s late winner gave Colorado the one-goal lead, and the defense held strong for the 1-0 win.

Washington 03 heads to the finals off a 2-0 victory over Hawaii 03. Abigail Arnold began the scoring in the 10th minute. Towards the end of the second half Palmira Scarsella added an insurance goal to secure the 2-0 victory.

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