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2013 McGuire Cup Preview | Planation Copa (FL)

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Region III - Plantation Copa (FL)

How they got to Nationals
This group of Planation Copa (FL) players has been playing together for about three years, and they’ve been knocking on the door but haven’t been able to break through until this season.
In 2012, Plantation defeated defending Region III champion Florida Rush Nike in the Florida State Cup semifinals, but it fell in the championship match to miss out on regionals. The two would meet again in this year’s semifinal, with Rush coming off a 2012 US Youth Soccer U-18 Boys National Championship. Once again, Plantation came out on top against a talented Rush squad, and they were able to take care of business in the final to advance to the Region III Championships for the first time.
At Regionals in Edmond, Okla., Plantation faced Vestavia Steamers 94 Black (AL) in the U-19 Boys final after having lost to the Alabama side, 5-2, earlier in the tournament.
"We came out and had a nightmare against them the first game, but the boys bounced back real well," Plantation head coach Jimmy Sotter said of the preliminary round loss to Vestavia. "We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes. We just didn’t come ready to play. The second time around was a much different story."
After conceding a first-half penalty kick in the final, Plantation responded with unanswered goals by Gonzalo Gelso and Jeffrey Michaud to take the Region III title and advance to Overland Park.
Now, the confident Plantation squad has its sights set on capturing the McGuire Cup. Sotter said he and his players know it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and they’re well aware of the significance winning the U-19 Boys championship.
"We’re very aware that it’s the oldest trophy and there’s a lot of history behind it. To us, it’s basically the ultimate prize at the youth level," Sotter said. "There’s no bigger prize to win than the McGuire Cup. It’s the highest age group, you go out on top if you’re able to capture the National Championship. It can’t be trumped by anyone else after that."
13_R3_U19B_Plantation COPA
Team Strength
Sotter said it’s their determined attitude and willingness to play for each other that drives his team. "When they step on the field, they all give it everything they’ve got. No one takes any shortcuts or time off," he said. "They work hard for each other. I would say their chemistry and the fact they’re confident and give 100 percent no matter what is their strength. Win, lose or draw, they leave it on the field."
Key Players
Center backs Allan Khune and Gonzalo Gelso anchored the Plantation defense during the Southern Regionals, Sotter said. Darwin Espinal carried the team offensively during regionals, with seven goals in five games. Though he didn’t score in the final game, Espinal assisted on both goals.
College Programs
Allan Costa Kuhne – Darton State College
Humberto Diaz – The King's College
Darwin A. Espinal – Darton State College
Michael T. Fernandez – Barry University
Alejandro C. Garcia – Darton State College
Gonzalo Gelso – UC Santa Barbara
Kyle Gumm – Florida Atlantic
Matthew Melguizovski – Florida International
Jeffrey Michaud – Central Florida
Alejandro Miranda – Darton State College
Timoy Mowatt – South Carolina – Salkehatchie
Santiago Unigarro – Darton State College  
Coach Background – Jimmy Sotter
o   More than 20 years coaching in South Florida area
o   16 Final Four State Cup appearances
o   Seven State Cup Final appearances
o   Four State Cup titles
o   Three Region III Semifinal appearances
o   Two Region III Final appearances
o   "D" Coaching License
Plantation Copa Schedule
Tuesday, July 23
7:30 a.m.
vs. Lehigh Valley United 93
Field 1
Wednesday, July 24
10:30 a.m.
vs. Chicago Fire Academy
Field 6
Friday, July 26
9:30 a.m.
vs. Pateadores ANA
Field 8
Saturday, July 27
6:30 p.m.
McGuire Cup Final
Field 1