GREENSBORO, N.C. (June 29, 2017) — The 2017 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships came to an exciting end on Thursday, as 12 teams claimed titles. Not only will the 12 teams leave as Regional Champions, but they join the two previous title winners in securing a coveted berth to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 24-30 in Frisco, Texas.
In the 18U Boys division, UFA 99 Premier’s Jose “Gaucho” Pinho, was ecstatic at his Georgia side's win on Thursday and how hard the team worked to claim the title of a regional champion.
“The Region III Championships are very hard. Finishing first is a fantastic feeling because we’ve done this five times in a row,” Pinho said. “We always want to come back and win Region III Championships because we know this region is very, very competitive. I’m very happy for the boys for all of their hard work.”
In addition, Pinho believes the Region III Championship games are preparing his players for the collegiate level. For UFA 99 Premier, Pinho wants his players to not only play for their respective college squads, but excel on them.
“The older you get, you are getting closer to your goal, and their goal is getting to college” Pinho said. “College is very intense and all these games have given them a little taste of what they are going to face going forward. It is important to them to start to get used to the pressure. Since we have gone through the [Region III Championships] five times, I think this will make them way stronger.”
Girls Final Highlights
In the 13U Girls division, Lonestar 04 Red (TX-S) outscored NTH TopHat 04 Platinum, 3-1, for the Region III Championships title. Lonestar’s Karleigh Villanueva was first to score for either team in the 31st minute before NTH’s Alexandra Ross leveled the score at 1-1 in the final minute. With that, the teams headed into overtime. Lonestar’s Ella Eggleston scored two goals in extra time, in the 82nd and 90th minutes, to give her side the victory.
In a nail-biting performance by Tennessee SC Showcase (TN) and Florida Elite 2003 (FL), the match was decided by penalty kicks. The first half was scoreless for both teams, but in the 54th minute, Hayley Howard netted an important goal for Tennessee SC. Just 10 minutes later, Florida Elite’s Alexi Pitt found the equalizer. The game was decided by kicks from the mark, in which Tennessee SC was victorious and punched its ticket to the National Championships.
In a battle between two Solar Chelsea teams, Solar Chelsea Grado (TX-N) defeated Solar Chelsea Naizer (TX-N), 1-0. The lone goal of the match was scored by Haley Lopez in the 21st minute. Both Solar Chelsea teams played a fantastic match and fought until the final whistle blew. With the win, Solar Chelsea Grado now has a spot in the National Championships, where it will compete in front of local fans in Frisco, Texas.
Florida Elite 2001 (FL) won the Region III Championships title in the 16U Girls division with a win over SLSC Cosmos 01 Lawless (OK). In a back-and-forth matchup, the first goal of the game was scored by Florida Elite’s Aaliyah Thompson in the 34th minute and four minutes later, Avery Patterson made the score 2-0. To come within one goal, SLSC’s Monika McGee found the back of the net in the 41st minute. In the opening minutes of the second half, Thompson scored her second goal of the match to finalize the score at 3-1. Since Florida Elite is advancing to Nationals as a National League qualifier, the SLSC Cosmos will head to the National Championships as the Region III rep.
Two goals within one minute of each other were the deciding factor in the 17U Girls final between 00 TFCA Alliance (NC) and Sunrise Sting 2000 (FL). Though the first half was scoreless, TFCA found the back of the net in the 68th and 69th minutes with goals from Erin Dilweg and Sara Moushegian. The win capped a fantastic run during the course of the last week at Region III Championships, as TFCA scored 12 goals and conceded none over its final five games.
In the 18U Girls division, TSC Showcase (TN) was crowned Region III Champions with a 3-1 win over OFC Hampton (OK). TSC Showcase struck first in the match with a goal from Tally Bishop in the 38th minute. In the 66th minute, Emma Rice tied up the score at 1-1. To give TSC Showcase the advantage, Julie Garst found the back of the net in the 85th minute. The final goal was netted by Peyton DePriest in the 90th minute. In the last three games of Region III Championships, TSC Showcase scored fourteen goals and only allowed three. OFC Hampton (OK) will advance to National Championships, as well, while TSC Showcase moves on as a National League qualifier.
Boys Final Highlights
In a championship battle between two Oklahoma squads, TSC Hurricane 04 Umelo (OK) defeated Oklahoma FC 04 (OK), 2-0. Angel Dimas netted one for TSC in the 8th minute of play and Ian McIntosh scored the final goal of the match in the 52nd minute. TSC went a perfect 6-0 throughout Region III Championships and is headed to the coveted National Championships next month.
USA/MP 2003 Premier (SC) came away with a 3-1 victory over Tennessee SC 2003 Showcase (TN) to claim the 14U Boys title. In the very first minute of the match, Lance Friedrich got USA/MP off to a great start with a quick goal. Chance Kennedy contributed USA/MP’s second goal in the 25th minute, and Friedrich added his second goal of the game in the 35th minute. Tennessee SC recorded an own goal in the match. Both USA/MP and Tennessee SC had fantastic showings throughout their Region III Championships journey.
Behind offense prowess, Solar Chelsea Red 02 Stricker (TX-N) outscored ID Club Division 02 (TX-S), 6-0. Solar Chelsea had two goals in the first 11 minutes from Riley O’Donnell and Harvey Castro. The last goal of the first half was netted by Richard Garcia. To open the second half, Solar's IIean Castorena made the score 4-0. The final two goals of the match were recorded by O’Donnell and Ethan Orozco. In addition, since Solar Chelsea already had a bid to National Championships via the National League, ID Club Division 02 (TX-S) have punched a ticket to National Championships, as well.
Tampa Bay United (FL) punched its ticket to the 2017 National Championships with a 4-0 win over Solar Chelsea 01 Elite (TX-N). Tampa Bay’s Beaudouin Tailefer recorded the first goal of the match in the 35th minute and 10 minutes later, Trevor Stanley added another. To open the second half, Joshua Colledge netted Tampa Bay’s third goal and Donald Williams closed out the scoring in the 65th minute — capping the Florida side's 4-0 victory.
FC Dallas 00 Premier (TX-N) edged CASL Red 00 North (NC), 4-1, to claim the 17U Boys title. In the 11th minute of play, CASL’s Andrew Rossetti found the back of the net to put his side in front. That lead held until the final minute, when Joseph Nelson equalized for FC Dallas to send the teams into overtime. In the 106th, 108th and 120th minutes, FC Dallas struck three different times. Two of the three goals came from Fabian Cruz and one from Marcos Puga. With the win, FC Dallas earned a chance to play for the National title on its home fields.
UFA Premier (GA) defeated Arkansas Comets 99 Premier (AR), 2-1, in a back-and-forth championship matchup. In the opening minutes of the game, Pedro Garcia found the back of the net for the Arkansas Comets. In the 55th minute, Carlos Reyes leveled the score at 1-1, and he struck again in the 87th minute for the winning goal of the match. With the final result, UFA Premier will head to the National Championships in Frisco, Texas, where games will start July 25.
2017 US Youth Soccer Region III Champions
13U Boys TSC Hurricane 04 Umelo (OK)
13U Girls Lonestar 04 Red (TX-S)
14U Boys USA/MP 2003 Premier (SC)
14U Girls Tennessee SC Showcase (TN)
15U Boys Solar Chelsea Red 02 Stricker (TX-N)
15U Boys # ID Club Division 02 (TX-S)
15U Girls Solar Chelsea 02 Grado (TX-N)
16U Boys Tampa Bay United (FL)
16U Girls Florida Elite 2001 (FL)
16U Girls # SLSC Cosmos 01 Lawless (OK)
17U Boys FC Dallas 00 Premier (TX-N)
17U Girls 00 TFCA Alliance (NC)
18U Boys UFA 99 Premier (GA)
18U Girls TSC Showcase (TN)
18U Girls # OFC 99 Hampton (OK)
19/20U Boys OFC 98 (OK)
19/20U Girls 98 CR Academy (NC)
19/20U Girls # WSA 98 Red (OK)
# Advances to National Championships as Region III representative. 15U Boys Solar Chelsea (TX-N), 16U Girls Florida Elite (FL), 18U Girls TSC Showcase (TN) and 19/20U Girls 98 CR Academy (NC) to represent National League.
Regional winners of the 13U through 19/20U age groups earn a berth to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 24-30 at the Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the 13U through 19/20U Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the 15U through 19/20U Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 teams.