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All champions crowned as 2016 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships conclude in Greenville, S.C.



All champions crowned as 2016 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships conclude in Greenville, S.C.

14 Region III Champions advance to 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (June 30, 2016) — The 2016 US Youth Soccer Region III (South) Championships came to an exciting conclusion Thursday, as 12 teams claimed titles. Not only will the 12 sides leave as Regional Champions, but they join the two previous title winners in securing a coveted berth to the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 25-31 in Frisco, Texas.

Thursday included five overtime games and two shootouts, as the matches all featured worthy finalists. Florida led the way with five Region III Champions, while North Carolina and North Texas each claimed three titles. Georgia, Tennessee and host South Carolina each earned one Region III title.

Under-18 Boys FC Dallas 98 Premier (TX-N) was the lone team to successfully defend its 2015 Region III title, while Under-18 Girls Tennessee SC 16 (TN) captured its fourth Region III Championship title in the last five years.

“It is so hard to stay on top, especially when you play against such good teams,” Tennessee coach Ronnie Woodard said. “Our girls showed such resilience by fighting back. We were down a goal in three games. We got great play from different players at different times, and that’s what makes this group special.”

The win means Tennessee SC will join the 13 other Region III Champions in Frisco, Texas, to compete for the National Championship. After advancing to the final as an Under-14 side in 2012, Woodard said it will be a great opportunity to have a chance to play for the National title one last time with the group.

“Every time we played this year, whether it was the State Cup final, or the Regional quarterfinal, semifinal or final — it’s potentially the last game for everyone in this age group,” Woodard said. “Emotions are high. Managing the emotions and making it passionate and not making it stress is really important. We’re going to spend a lot of time trying to be present, trying to enjoy the moment and prepare for the upcoming matches.”

Girls Final Highlights

Under-13 Girls
In a matchup of club mates, Solar Chelsea Red (TX-N) came back from an early deficit to defeat Solar Chelsea 03 (TX-N), 3-1, in the Under-13 Girls final. Solar 03 wasted little time to grab an advantage, as Taylor Conway met a 1st-minute cross at the back post and redirected it past the keeper to put her side up, 1-0. Maya Ozymy responded in the 25th minute with a shot from distance that dipped under the bar to pull the two sides even. Just before half, Quinn Cornog slid a shot past the keeper to put Solar Red in front, 2-1. Trinity Byars added a 59th-minute insurance goal, as Solar Chelsea Red pulled out the 3-1 victory — meaning the North Texas side will play in its backyard at the National Championships in Frisco.

Under-14 Girls
It took a lengthy shootout to decide an Under-14 Girls Champion, as Tennessee SC 20 (TN) and Florida Elite 01/02 (FL) couldn’t be separated during regulation or overtime. Both goalkeepers made a save within the first five attempts of the shootout, and the teams continued on to decide a winner. After two more successful kicks from each team, both keepers once again produced saves in the eighth round to keep their teams alive. Florida keeper Jovanna Cernatescu, who converted her attempt in the 10th round of kicks, produced a save in the 11th round to seal the 1-0 (PK) victory for her team. Cernatescu replaced regular Florida keeper Juliana Arciprete for the shootout after Arciprete helped the team go the entire week without conceding a goal. Tennessee SC 20 (TN) will continue on to Nationals as a National League Blue Division champion.

Under-15 Girls
After falling in the 2015 National final, Dallas Kicks SC 01 (TX-N) is heading back to the National Championships thanks to a 4-1 win over OFC 01 Phillips (OK) in the Under-15 Girls final. As they did all week, Samantha Meza and Jaida Thomas paced the Kicks’ offensive attack — scoring two goals each to bring their goal totals to five and seven, respectively. OFC received a penalty kick goal from Megan Nielsen — her fifth of the week — in the 71st minute to pull OFC within two goals and put pressure on Dallas. However, Thomas netted the second of her two goals with a shot that slid just inside the left post, which sealed the 4-1 victory.

Under-16 Girls
After conceding a late goal to force overtime, Florida Krush Black (FL) pulled away for a 3-1 overtime victory against South Carolina United FC 99 Elite (SC) in the Under-16 Girls final. Emma Marcus put Florida in front in the 21st minute, and that goal came just minutes away from being the game-winner. However, Emmalee McCarter hit a dipping strike from 25 yards out in the 77th minute to send the match to overtime. Florida wasted little time to regain its lead, as Asia Ervin tapped in a low cross five minutes into overtime to put the Krush up, 2-1. Shayla Smart sealed the win when she hit a shot around the keeper — helping Florida to a 3-1 victory.

Under-17 Girls
Under-17 Girls CR S Burgundy Rapids (NC) recorded its fourth clean sheet of the week to claim the Region III title with a 3-0 victory against Sunrise Sting 98/99 (FL). The Rapids’ Madison Oracion jumped on a loose ball in the box and beat the keeper with her shot to put the North Carolina side up, 1-0. Shortly after halftime, Oracion found the back of the net to double the lead. Moly McGarry added a 67th-minute goal to help cap the 3-0 victory that sends the Rapids on their way to Frisco for the National Championships.

Under-18 Girls
For the fourth time in five years, Tennessee SC 16 (TN) is the Region III Champion after it came back to win, 2-1, against Oklahoma FC 98 (OK). Tennessee got in an early hole when it couldn’t clear a corner kick away from danger, and Madison May hit a shot inside the far post to put OFC up, 1-0, in the 12th minute. Tennessee pulled level when Callie McKinney headed a 29th-minute cross from a short corner off the crossbar but managed to head the rebound into an open net. Shortly after halftime, leading scorer Karlie Paschall deflected a cross to the back post just over the goal line to put Tennessee in front. Some dangerous Oklahoma chances were cleared away over the final 40 minutes of play, as Tennessee held on for the 2-1 win.

Boys Final Highlights

Under-13 Boys
A pair of second half goals helped 02 CASL Academy Juniors (NC) claim the Under-13 Boys title with a 2-0 win over Lonestar 03 Red (TX-S). A dangerous early free kick from CASL’s Ian Holdaway was parried away by the Lonestar keeper to keep the game scoreless. That proved to be signs of things to come, as Holdaway troubled the Lonestar back line for much of the game. In the 59th minute, a teammate back heeled a nice ball into the box, which Holdaway struck past the keeper to open the scoring for CASL. Holdaway added a second in stoppage time when he rounded the keeper and slid his shot in from a tight angle — capping the North Carolina side’s 2-0 victory.  

Under-14 Boys
West Pines United Carrillo (FL) overcame an early deficit to defeat 01 CASL Red North (NC), 2-1, and take the Under-14 Boys title. Noah Burnette put CASL in front in the 14th minute after a quick attack following a West Pines giveaway. However, the Florida team responded six minutes later when Matthew Correa made a run to the near post and hit a cross past the keeper to level the score. The two sides pushed for the important go-ahead goal, and Florida managed to create it in the 64th minute. Carlos Vega gathered a cross and put a shot on goal that was saved, but he volleyed the loose rebound into an open net for what proved to be the game-winner in West Pines United’s 2-1 victory.

Under-15 Boys
In a dramatic Under-15 Boys final, Davie United Sharks 00/01 Blue (FL) outlasted 2015 National finalist GSA 01 Premier (GA) to earn a 2-1 (PK) victory. Neither side managed to break through until Liam Butts put GSA in front in the first overtime period. Just eight minutes later, Benjamin Grossi found the back of the net to equalize for Davie United. The match moved on the kicks from the mark, where each keeper made a diving save to force a sixth round of attempts. After the Sharks buried their sixth attempt, their keeper stopped the ensuing GSA attempt to seal the shootout victory for the Florida side.

Under-16 Boys
After losses in the semifinals at the last two Region III Championships, Concorde Fire 99/00 (GA) took advantage of its final berth — defeating Andromeda FC 00 Red (TX-N), 2-1, on Thursday. The Georgia side took a 35th-minute lead when Austin Manzo found the back of the net off of a set piece. That lead held until the 52nd minute, as a great piece of passing led to a tap in goal for Cade Von Heimburg, who equalized for Andromeda. However, Concorde responded within a few minutes when Andrew Donehoo headed in a corner kick to help his side regain the lead. The proved to be the game-winner, as Concorde held on for the 2-1 victory.

Under-17 Boys
A back-and-forth matchup between 98 CASL Red (NC) and defending Region III Champion CESA 98 Premier (SC) needed a shootout to decide the Under-17 winner. In the 56th minute, William Rudolph’s low cross took a slight deflection and found Jacob Pleasants, who spun and slid his shot inside the left post to put CASL up, 1-0. Mitchell Myers pulled CESA even 20 minutes later on a penalty kick before CASL’s Vicente Gallardo headed home a perfect cross from Luca Menozzi to help the North Carolina side regain the lead. However, Myers scored his second for CESA when he hit a low drive inside the right post to level the score in the 90th minute. After two scoreless overtime periods, CASL converted four penalties to CESA’s three in the shootout to claim the Under-17 Boys title.

Under-18 Boys
Two experienced Under-18 Boys sides needed extra time to determine a Region III Champion on Thursday, as FC Dallas 98 Premier (TX-N) and KSA 98 Premier (GA) were evenly matched through 120 of action. After neither side could break through in regulation, the match went to overtime to determine a winner. In the 106th minute, Brooks Fergerson beat the KSA defense down the right side and cut into the box before sliding his shot just inside the left post to put FC Dallas in front, 1-0. The Dallas defense did well to deny several dangerous KSA build-ups throughout the game, as the North Texas side came away with the 1-0 overtime win.

2016 US Youth Soccer Region III (South) Champions

Under-13 Boys 02 CASL Academy Juniors (NC)
Under-13 Girls Solar Chelsea Red (TX-N)
Under-14 Boys West Pines United Carrillo (FL)
Under-14 Girls Florida Elite 01/02 (FL)
Under-15 Boys Davie United Sharks 00/01 Blue (FL)
Under-15 Girls Dallas Kicks SC 01 (TX-N)
Under-16 Boys Concorde Fire 99/00 (GA)
Under-16 Girls Florida Krush Black (FL)
Under-17 Boys 98 CASL Red (NC)
Under-17 Girls CR S Burgundy Rapids (NC)
Under-18 Boys FC Dallas 98 Premier (TX-N)
Under-18 Girls Tennessee SC 16 (TN)
Under-19 Boys FC Florida 96/97 Elite (FL)
Under-19 Girls CESA (SC)

The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the Under-13 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-14 through Under-18 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 teams. 

Daily reports and complete results from the tournament are available on

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