CCSC SOL (FL) and Scorpions SC (MA) met in a thrilling preliminary match on the first day of the US Youth Soccer National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C. The match’s only two goals came after the 80th minute, with the second coming in extra time as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
The two teams met in the Under-19 Girls division finals in an encore that was nothing short of spectacular. After neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first 117 minutes that included regulation time, the first overtime period, and some of the second overtime period, both teams notched a goal within four minutes of each other in the second overtime period that ended in a 1-1 draw.
If that wasn’t enough, the teams needed eight rounds of penalty kicks to determine the winner. Gabrielle Ragazzo’s penalty kick goal ended up being the game winner for CCSC as Scorpions Kathryn Hiller’s penalty kick clanked off the post, securing the victory for CCSC, 2-1 (7-6).
"All of this was done with heart. I can’t express how great it feels," CCSC head coach Luis Torres said. "Only two teams each year get to win their very last game of US Youth Soccer, and this is the way you want to go out."
Theresa Diederich broke the stalemate in the 118th minute after a handball was called against Scorpions in the box with a penalty kick goal. Scorpions piled on the attack and four minutes later, Jessica Clinton received a pass in the box and scored off the post to tie things up at one.
Clinton has had a knack for scoring late-game goals throughout this tournament. Clinton scored the only goal of the match against So Cal Blues Dodge (CA-S) in the 87th minute to secure a 1-0 victory. And it was her goal in the 82nd minute that broke the tie in the two team’s first match. Clinton ended with three goals in the tournament, which tied her with her teammate, and 2012 Golden Ball winner, McKenzie Meehan, for the most in the tournament.
After another tie, the game was sent into the penalty kicks. All of the other championships games had finished, and fans started to gather in the stands and around the fence in hope of getting a glimpse of the shootout. The penalty kicks went eight rounds deep before CCSC came out as the winner. In goal for CCSC was Kylie Wilson, who joined the team only 10 months ago. Wilson was huge for CCSC all tournament and was rewarded with the Golden Glove award.
"Kylie has been huge for us. Without her, we wouldn’t be here right now," Torres said. "I hope her college coach takes note. She can be a big time college player. She is definitely a gamer."
Wilson saved the second penalty kick and got a piece of a couple more. Her teammates were chanting her name on the final penalty kick. When Hiller’s shot hit off the post, pandemonium ensued as the girls ran on the field to celebrate.
"This team has the most heart than any team I have ever seen. I got two hands on it twice, and I actually got in trouble with the ref for saying a few words," Wilson said. "When they started screaming my name, I had tears in my eyes. There are no words to describe winning a national championship, it’s just awesome."
The bulk of this championship CCSC team were formerly members of the Ponte Vedra Storm who lost in the national final as U-16s. This run to a title capped off an impressive run for the core group of players.