Finals Take Shape at the 2015 US Youth Soccer ODP Region IV Championships
The semifinals are in the books at the 2015 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Region IV Championships at Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix. The four-day tournament features teams of elite players in the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 age groups, from Region IV, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California North, California South, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The four day tournament guarantees at least four matches for each team, and will ultimately determine who represents Region IV in the 2015 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships in the 1998 and 1999 age groups. California South has dominated as of late as the state swept last year’s Region IV and National ODP Championships, and has a team in every finals match tomorrow. Washington and Cal North each have three teams in the finals while Utah has two and both Hawaii and host Arizona have one team.
With programs in all 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, US Youth Soccer ODP, the original Olympic development program, is available to any player. US Youth Soccer ODP is the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League, and the majority of current and past national and youth national team members, as alumni.
Utah 98 defeated New Mexico 98 in an overtime thriller that saw a player sent off on both sides. New Mexico’s Lincoln Busselle broke the tie right before halftime to give New Mexico the 1-0 lead. It looked as if that would be the final score until Jacob Angeletti tied things up in stoppage time. Cristian Alfaro scored the game winner in overtime to secure a berth into the finals.
Washington 98 and Cal South 98 punched their respective tickets to the finals with two-goal victories in the semifinals. McKaley Goffard scored her third goal of the tournament just eight minutes into the match. Merely five minutes later it was Sophia Vivian scoring her group leading sixth goal to put Washington up 2-0. Olivia Hernandez scored right before halftime to put Arizona within one goal, but Makaylie Moore ended all hopes of a comeback with a goal in the 64th minute. Cal South defeated Utah 98 2-0 as 2014 US Youth Soccer National Champion and Golden Ball winner Savannah DeMelo broke the scoreless stalemate in the 46nd minute before Kennedy Smith added an insurance goal in the 54th minute.
Utah 99 will join defending champs Cal South 99 in the finals thanks to a 3-0 victory over Colorado 99. Aaron Nixon got Utah off to a dream start with a goal in the second minute, and Benjamin Gonzalez doubled Utah’s lead eight minutes later. Tomas Merniez added a third goal in the 40th minute to give Utah the convincing victory. Cal South narrowly edged Washington 99 with some late drama as Devin Cornejo’s lone goal of the match occurred in the 65th minute.
The 1999 Girls final will be a California intrastate match between Cal North 99 and Cal South 99. Cal North needed overtime to defeat Utah 99 in a game that certainly didn’t lack excitement. Cal North grabbed the lead right after halftime thanks to a Sydney Spina goal, and Ele Avery was able to double the lead in the 56th minute. However, Utah refused to go away as Anna Escobedo scored in the 65th minute, and Cameron Tucker scored in the final minute to tie things up. Cal North was able to rally as Sarah Broacha was the only player to find the back of the net in overtime, securing a trip to the finals. Cal South’s journey involved a little less drama as the defending champs defeated Washington 99 5-0. Five different players contributed to the score sheet as Simone Handy, Brooke Redington, Sabrina Enciso, Johnson Ashley and Sophia Seraphin all scored for Cal South.
Arizona 00 came within minutes of upsetting Cal South 00 in the semifinals when the host team received goals in the first and fifth minute from Emilio Echerivel and Carter Clemmensen respectively. However the defending champs’ refused to be denied a chance to defend their title as Roberto Rodriguez scored in the 59th minute and Jose Sanchez scored minutes before the end of regulation. Alexsis Garcia Bernal scored the game winner in the 75th minute to set up a date with Washington 00 in the finals. Washington 00 defeated Nevada 00 2-0 with goals coming from Dane Helle in the 13th minute and Agustus Diehl in the 59th minute.
Cal North and Cal South will again battle in the finals after both teams recorded shut out victories in the semifinals. Cal North 00 defeated Hawaii 00 3-0 thanks to a second half brace from Cassidy Tshimbalanga to go with a last minute insurance goal from Naomi Girma. Cal South 00 won against Washington 00 2-0 courtesy of a pair of goals from Molly Myers in the 41st and 56th minute.
Cal North 01 will join Cal South 01 in the finals as both teams won 2-0. Ramiro Juarez struck first for Cal North against Utah 01, and Dylan Yee added another in the 55th minute. Cal South used Alfredo Moran’s last minute brace to advance to the finals over Oregon 01 as Moran’s goals came in the 65th and 68th minute.
Cal South continued to supplant themselves in the finals as Cal South 01 rode a 2-0 victory over host Arizona to earn a spot in the finals. Kate Wiesner began the scoring in the 15th minute, and Laney Carroll added another in the 54th minute for the 2-0 win. Joining them will be Hawaii 01 after a 1-0 victory over Cal North 01. Things looked to be heading to overtime as both teams were unable to find the back of the net for almost the entirety of the game, until Hawaii’s Savannah Breeze Miranda was the hero with her goal in the 70th minute to punch Hawaii’s ticket to the finals.
Cal South 02 produced a dominating performance in the first semifinal with a 7-0 victory over Nevada 02. Adam Saldana scored a brace to go with a goal from Sebastian Ramirez, but it was John Melgoza who stole the show by scoring the final four goals. Washington 02 will fill the other finals spot with a 5-2 win over Cal North 02. Thai Wichienwidhtaya began the scoring in the fifth minute, but Cal North responded with Amir Issa scoring in the 25th minute. Washington would again take the lead four minutes later with a Cole Fontenelle goal, only for Tyler Ohman to net a second equalizer in the 41st minute for Cal North. Dominic Koester put Washington up for good in the 55th minute, and Wichienwidhtaya added his second to go with Ethan Dobbelaere’s insurance goal for Washington in the 69th minute.
Cal South 02 won the first intrastate match of the tournament 3-0 against Cal North 02. Alex Gonzalez kicked off the scoring in the 26th minute, and Cordelia Cross added another for Cal South three minutes later. Kaitlyn Roditis netted another insurance goal as Cal South will meet Arizona 02 in the finals. Colorado 02 jumped ahead of Arizona in the other semifinal courtesy of a Jordon Johnson goal in the 13th minute, but Alexandra Sampson responded seven minutes later to level the score. It took until the final minutes for the tie to be broken as Rachel Campagne scored for Arizona in the 66th minute to complete the comeback.