PHOENIX, Ariz., (June 20, 2012) – Preliminary games are complete at the 2012 US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships, presented by the National Guard, with 128 teams qualifying for advancement to quarterfinals on Friday, June 22, at Reach 11 Sports Complex, in Phoenix, Ariz.
The National Guard's partnership with US Youth Soccer is focused on enriching the soccer experience by positively influencing players and coaches in areas of leadership and character development while adding a strong presence of American pride.
The US Youth Soccer Regional Championships are an annual proving ground for the top teams in the country as each team has had to earn their way into the competition, creating the most competitive environment for players to test themselves and develop.
"The competition is great. It’s always fantastic to get out and play other teams in the region and new teams we haven’t faced. I just hope these players learn about themselves; to believe in themselves and learn how to grow and get better," said Under-18 Girls Pride Predators 94 (CO) head coach Shannon Brooks. "There’s nothing like playing against the best teams to learn about yourself and the things that you need to improve on and the things you can trust and fall back on, hopefully that continues. It’s been great, the players enjoy it and we’ve had a good time."
After a day of rest, quarterfinal qualifiers will resume play Friday, June 22 with the hopes of advancing for the chance to claim a regional title.
A few highlights from today's matches...
Santa Barbara SC White (CA-S) have been like quiet assassins this week as they took down each opponent 1-0 to finish atop pool D. Santa Barbara finished off their perfect record against 98 CCV Stars (AZ), who were eliminated on tiebreakers. Benjamin Garcia grabbed the game winner for SBSC in the 20th minute, and the defense held tough for a third straight shutout en route to the quarterfinals.
Alum Rock PAC Impact (CA-N) sealed their spot in the quarterfinals by beating Colorado Rapids (CO) 7-1 and take the goal differential tiebreaker against 98 CCV Stars for second place in the group. Alejandro Flores got Impact rolling with goals in the 2nd and 15th minutes before Uriel Gonzalez-Medina made it a three goal lead in the 22nd. The Rapids looked to have pulled themselves back into the game with a Frank Morales-Shnaider strike in the 30th, but Impact ran off four unanswered goals from Dominic Salciccia, Andres Jimenez and two from Jordan Juarez to move on to the next round.
Pool B could have provided plenty of drama on the final day of group play, but instead the results stayed exactly the same after both games resulted in 0-0 draws. New Mexico Rush Nike 98 (NM) had control of the group to start the day, and despite a first half red card, Rush held on for a 0-0 draw with Crossfire Premier 97 James (WA) to win the group and eliminate the Washington state champs on goal differential.
Willamette United Arsenal (OR) were keeping their eye on the Crossfire score as they headed deep into their match with Hawaii Rush 98 Nike (HI) locked at 0-0. Arsenal knew they held the goal differential advantage over their Northwest rival, and they finished off the game 0-0 to hold onto their second spot and advance to the knockout rounds.
Cal-South wildcard, Platinum FC, locked up their third straight victory 1-0 over Hawaii Rush 94 Nike (HI) to win their pool without conceding a goal. A Nancy Brich goal in the 55th minute decided the game and despite the loss, Rush advanced as the second seed on goal differential.
Eastside FC 93 Red (WA) entered their final game knowing they needed to pad their goal differential and hope Hawaii Rush concede as many goals as possible to overtake the Hawaiians for the second seed in Pool D. Eastside held up their end with a 6-0 win over Downtown LVSC 94 Gold (NV), but Rush was only beat by a goal which left Eastside on the outside looking in. Delanee Nilles put in her work with a hatrick, including both first half goals, while Audrey Thomas added one and Coryn Bajema netted twice for Eastside.
Pride Predators 94 (CO) needed a win to guarantee a place in the quarterfinals while today’s opponent Beach FC 93 Arrache (CA-S) had already qualified to play on Friday. After a 6th minute Beach goal from Samantha Witteman, Pride responded with goals from Haley Fisher in the 41st and the game winner from Jessica Stauffer to not only advance, but take the top seed from Beach.
New Mexico Rush Nike 94 had a chance to advance to the knockout stage with the right results, but neither game went their way as they were defeated by Boulder County Force Buffs (CO) 3-1, while Pride Predators were victorious to spoil any chance for Rush. Essence Ortiz Lanier put Boulder County in the lead at the break with a 14th minute goal and Daphnee Morency added to the lead in the 70th before Lanier grabbed her second in the 86th. Olivia Ferrier scored the lone goal for Rush as both teams bow out of the tournament.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the Under-14 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-15 through Under-17 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 60 teams.
Daily reports and complete results from the tournament are available on http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org
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