Eight Cal South PRO+ | ODP Teams were crowned champions on Sunday morning at the 2017 US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships that took place at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix. Last year’s Regional and National Champion, the 2000 Boys Team, fell 1-0 to Oregon in the final, while the 2002 Boys team fell 3-1 in the Semifinal against Utah.
With the eight titles earned this year, Cal South now sums a total of 71 US Youth Soccer Region IV ODP Championships throughout history.
Southern California’s 2000 and 2002 Girls, and the 2001, 2003 and 2004 Boys and Girls Teams were crowned champions in their respective age groups after four consecutive days of action.
With the win, the 2000 Girls, 2001 Boys and Girls will now move on the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP National Championships that will take place in the same location starting March 2-5.
Early in 2016, Cal South claimed five of the 10 titles up for grabs in last year’s edition, with the 2000 and 2001 Girls Teams being consistently at the top for the past four tournaments; Cal South’s 2000 Girls Team can repeat as National ODP Champion, should they win in the upcoming edition.
The following are match highlights of the final games, provided by US Youth Soccer Communications:
A strong start helped Oregon come away with a 1-0 win over Cal South and claim a spot in the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships. Oregon’s Zachary Velasco put the ball in the net in the 24th minute for the lone goal of the game. Oregon had a strong defensive presence in the second half to prevent an attacking Cal South from tying up the game.
In the 2000 Girls age group, Cal South edged out Washington 3-1, and earned a spot in the 2017 ODP Championships. Helen Burke scored first for Cal South in the 19th minute and her teammate Amber McCorkie doubled the lead in the 41st minute. Washington’s Makenna Carr scored her eighth goal of the event in the 64th minute and Jenna Nighswonger put the game out of reach in the 77th minute to bring the final score to 3-1.
In the final game of the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Region IV Championships, Cal South defeated Arizona Red, 3-0. Diego Aragon found the back of the net in the 15th minute, and his teammate Brandon Garcia scored in the 25th minute. Soon after the second half started, Daniel Martinez netted the final goal for Cal South.
The Cal South 2001 Girls wrapped up an undefeated tournament with a close 1-0 victory over Utah. The first and second half were scoreless for both sides, but Samantha Williams added a late goal in the first set of extra time to grab the victory. Despite a strong attacking presence from Utah, Cal South was able to hold onto its lead until the final whistle blew.
In a matchup between Washington and Cal South, it was Cal South who came out on top 3-1. First to score for Washington was Zoe Burns with the only first half goal for either team. In the second half, it was all Cal South. Cal South’s Cordeila Cross found the back of the net in the 63rd minute and Nya Harrison scored twice in extra time, just two minutes apart, to give Cal South the final 3-1 edge.
A late goal helped Cal South earn a 2-1 win against Arizona to claim the 2002 Boys ODP Region IV Championship title. Joshan Darji scored the lone goal in the first half to send Cal South into halftime with a 1-0 lead. Arizona’s Alexander Kessler scored his fifth goal of the event in the 62nd minute to tie the match, but it was Eduardo Villeda’s goal in extra time that gave Cal South the final edge.
A faceoff between two tough teams in the 2003 Girls division led to a 2-0 win for Cal South against Washington. Velize King was first to score for her team in the 17th minute, and just nine minutes later her teammate Kayla Colbert found the back of the net for the fourth time in the ODP Region IV Championships. Cal South played an impressive defense in the second half to give them the final 2-0 advantage.
In a winner-take-all matchup, Cal South defeated Arizona, 3-0. Cal South’s Stefano Brunetto had two goals in ten minutes to open the half and Cal South didn’t look back from there. Cesar Bahena added his third goal of the event in the 67th minute to increase the lead, and that was enough to give Cal South the final advantage over Arizona.
Two back-to-back goals from Cailey Jackson in the first half of play was enough to jumpstart Cal South to a 4-0 victory over Nevada. Alyssa Thompson also added a goal in the 27th minute, and to close out the second half, Ally Lemos netted the fourth and final goal for Cal South.