Three North Texas Teams Crowned National Champions
A total of 10 North Texas teams traveled to Phoenix July 22-28 to challenge teams from states and regions around the country for US Youth Soccer National Championships — the most prestigious title in the youth soccer game.
National Championship competition was held for boys and girls in the U14 through U19 age groups. Five North Texas boys' teams and five North Texas girls' teams competed in the grueling Phoenix heat for the chance to bring home the coveted trophies — and three teams succeeded in their goal.
Sting 97 U14 girls' team will have their name etched on the Elmer Ehlers Cup after a rematch with Chicago Eclipse ended in a 2-0 victory for Sting. The first match against Eclipse, during round-robin play, ended in a tie when the Eclipse keeper took a free kick from the middle of the field that bounced over the outstretched arms of Sting's keeper and into the goal. The Sting 97 girls took no chances in the final, shutting out the Eclipse team, while scoring two goals to seal the national championship. Chelsea Surpris scored first, with Catherine Gaspar knocking in the second and final goal to finish off Eclipse.
"We began the year with a goal to win the national championship and these girls have achieved their goal," said coach Kioumars Rezaie to the crowd following the game.
Two Sting 97 players were recognized for outstanding performance in the tournament. Mimi Asom received the Golden Ball award and Alyssa Palacios received the Golden Glove.
In the U16 age group, defending champions Sting 95 achieved an amazing accomplishment, winning their second-straight national title. This year's championship game was a rematch of the Region III final, where Sting 95 met Tulsa Hurricanes and lost a close match, 1-0. While the first game had been a tense, close battle, the rematch was a high scoring, exciting affair, ending with a 4-3 overtime victory for Sting 95.
Madelyn Crabtree scored the opening goal eight minutes into the game, as well as the game-winner in overtime. Caitlyn Heap and Katherine Martin also scored one apiece to help take their team into the youth soccer history books. Their team name will be added to the Mavis Derflinger Cup for 2011, after having their name permanently etched on the U15 Kristine Lilly Cup in 2010. In addition to winning the national championship, Sting 95 also received the Fair Play award for the tournament, reflecting their clean play and excellent sportsmanship throughout the event.
The U19 Dallas Texans girls' team returned from their prospective colleges to fittingly win the Ross Stewart Cup, named after our own beloved North Texan, Ross Stewart. The championship game ended in the searing heat with a 1-1 tie, with Courtney Smith keeping the Texans alive with a goal in regulation. In overtime, a PK was awarded to Texans after a player heading to the goal was tripped in the box. Shelby Redman pounded the ball to the right of the keeper and into the net for the game-winner. Along with the national championship honor, Alyssa Diggs was awarded the Golden Ball for the tournament. It was a great last hoorah for this U19 group of girls after a long career in North Texas youth soccer.
Congratulations also to Dallas Texans 97 boys, FC Dallas 96 boys, Solar 96 boys, Sting 96 girls, Dallas Texans 95 girls, Dallas Texans Red 94 boys and Dallas Texans 92 boys for their third-place finishes in the tournament. Dallas Texans 97 boys also won the Fair Play award for their age group.
It was a great showing for North Texas, once again proving the ability of the North Texas community to produce high-quality, high-performing teams, winning under tough environmental conditions while maintaining good sportsmanship. Next year the national championship tournament will be held in Rock Hill, S.C.
For more information on the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series, visit usyouthsoccer.org.