Real Colorado U16/17 Score Big at Girls’ DA Championships
The 2018 #DAChampionships offered highly competitive youth soccer matchups with the chance for players to perform at their best in front of U.S. Soccer scouts and many National Team coaches.
Real Colorado U16/7 Girls DA team became among the special few who claimed the championship title in the inaugural year. Real Colorado advanced to the DA Championships Finals after they defeated FC Slammers 1-0 in the Semifinals and beat FC Dallas 2-1 in the Quarterfinals.
The Girls’ DA championship was an amazing event for players, coaches and families to attend. With dozens of scouts and high-level college coaches on site encouraging players and watching them perform, the level of commitment to work together to build a brighter future has never been higher.
The action never stopped at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City when Real Colorado took on Nationals for a 3-0 victory and the honor of being crowned the inaugural U16/7 Girls Development Academy Champions
Two goals from Taeya Schuepper and one from Lydia Totten plus an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Halle Mackiewicz earned their Real Colorado team the right to lift the Championship trophy. Mackiewicz has sustained a broken finger in an earlier Playoff match but showed no signs of weakness, delivering a forceful presence in front of the goal and denying the opposition any glory.
“It’s so exciting,” Real Colorado head coach Jared Spires to U.S. Soccer after the match. “No matter how good a club is, you don’t get these opportunities very much. Most importantly, when you look at this national championship, we had to beat some great clubs. Our kids got the opportunity to perform on a big stage and they embraced it.”
Diane Scavuzzo interviewed FC Dallas head coach Jared Spires on the pitch moments after their victory:
Diane Scavuzzo: Congratulations. What was it like watching the final championship match?
Jared Spires: It was exciting. It was a ton of fun.
The teams we got to play in the DA Championship made this really sweet. We’ve had the chance to compete against some clubs we have been familiar with — and we got to go against some of my most respected friends … all of this has made it an incredible journey for me as well as this group of players.
Real Colorado was one of the best clubs in the country.
This is our second national championship and they are really hard to come by.
A lot of things have to go your way. To this team”s credit, they got loose at the right time. I was laughing, they were looser than I was.
These players are gifted at what they do and they love what they do. It is an incredible opportunity to play on the national stage like they did tonight and I don’t think you can ask for more than that.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did you prepare them for this challenge?
Jared Spires: It is a growing process.
Throughout the year, they did not overachieve but they definitely exceeded my expectations.
All season long, we went ahead and really balanced our team.
We went with different lineups — players still played in the positions they were most comfortable in but we rotated starts.
Then when we started to talk about how this was going to change as we started to build into this championship.
The players who were really performing were going to get those minutes.
You see them all accept their roles and step up when they had to was truly remarkable for a bunch of young kids.
Diane Scavuzzo: I believe your goalkeeper played injured?
Jared Spires: Yes, our goalkeeper Halle Mackiewicz had a very nasty break in the Playoffs when we played against PDA — she finished the game making two saves. She got it reduced and played fantastic against FC Dallas. She is remarkable.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you describe your coaching philosophy?
Jared Spires: I love what I do. I love working with the kids.
I think every kid is different.
Every team is different.
And you are trying to figure out how to blend those personalities and those styles together.
My goal is always to be in the background somewhere.
Most of what I give on game day hopefully is encouragement — Probably less instruction, because that is what I am supposed to be doing during the week.
Note: According to U.S. Soccer, during Real Colorado’s six Academy Playoffs games, its defensive unit conceded just one goal (an own goal) as it took down three of the nation’s top five seeds.
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