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PHOENIX, Ariz. (Feb. 28, 2014) — The 2014 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Championships kicked off Friday at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Ariz. Elite Boys and Girls teams in the 1997 and 1998 age groups, from each of the four US Youth Soccer Regions, completed their semi-final matches and set the field for Sunday’s championship and consolation matches.
After a successful semi-finals day, all four California South teams move on to the championship rounds. This gives the state association another shot to repeat last year’s ODP Championships results, in which they swept and won every title - a feat never done before in ODP Championships history. The 1997 Girls and Boys Cal South teams have the opportunity to win their second consecutive ODP Championship.
The US Youth Soccer ODP Championships will continue on Sunday, March 2 with championship and consolation matches to be played beginning at 8 a.m. To view schedules and matchups, click here.
US Youth Soccer ODP is the original Olympic development program and the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer and National Women’s Soccer League, as well as a majority of current and past national and youth national team members, as alumni. With programs in all 55 State Associations, as well as regional, national and international tournaments, US Youth Soccer ODP continues to offer development and exposure opportunities to any player, regardless of hometown or club affiliation.
In a match that played out all the way to kicks from the mark, Iowa’s 97 Boys team defeated Eastern Pennsylvania 4-3. Iowa possessed a lengthy advantage after Eduvie Ikoba scored early in the 4th minute. Eastern PA’s Ahmad Awadalla found the equalizer in the 55th minute, and the 1-1 score led to overtime. After an additional 30 minutes of play, tough defense from both sides kept the score tied. In penalty kicks, Iowa’s three goals outweighed E-PA’s two, ultimately giving them the win.
Despite being down 1-0 at halftime, Cal South’s 97 Boys team came back strong in the second half and defeated North Carolina 3-1. Graham Smalley gave North Carolina the early lead with a goal in the 14th minute. In the 62nd minute, Cal-South’s Adam Wright tied the match. As things heated up, a penalty kick in the 78th minute shifted the game. Ivan Canales went up to kick for Cal South, and his successful shot gave them a 2-1 advantage. Just two minutes later, Cal South’s Marco Bueno capitalized on the momentum and scored the game winner by cutting inside the box and shooting the ball in the upper left corner of the net.
The Cal South 97 Girls beat Florida 3-0 with three second half goals. Solid defenders on both sides caused a scoreless first half. In the 54th minute, Rocio Rodriguez broke the stalemate and gave Cal South the lead. Cal South finished the match with a shutout and two additional goals - Ally Prisock scored in the 65th minute and Victoria Buda notched the third goal in the 81st minute of play.
The last match of the day saw a 2-1 overtime win by 97 Girls team, Illinois. The game contained lots of action in the first thirty minutes of play, after New Jersey’s Taylor Troutman scored in the 14th minute, and Illinois’ Jenna Szczesny reciprocated 14 minutes later. Both teams battled it out in the second half, but the much desired game winner didn’t occur until overtime when Emily Hess gave Illinois the game winner five minutes before the final whistle.
After a grueling battle in regulation and overtime play, Cal South’s 98 Boys defeated Illinois 5-3 in penalty kicks. Both teams saw many close calls, but after two halves and overtime the score remained 0-0. In penalty kicks, Illinois obtained three goals by Christopher Schwaiger, Jack Dilger and Dalton Bruso. Cal South earned the win with goals by Samuel Hefter, Sebastien Des Pres, Jorge Navarro, Christian Gutierrez and Andrew Forth.
The second 98 Boys match was a close one, as Maryland defeated Florida 3-2. Maryland placed themselves in a good position after getting a pair of back-to-back goals by Joshua Fawole, and a third goal by Trent Tarnstrom. Despite the fact Florida didn’t get on the board in the first half, they came back determined in the second half. Florida’s Arturo Ydrach scored in the 45th minute and Samuel Ward added a tally in the 63rd minute. Although Florida was on the road to a comeback, they couldn’t quite find the equalizer and Maryland’s early efforts helped them move on to the championship.
The 98 Girls match between Georgia and Virginia required penalty kicks to determine a winner. Regulation time had some back and forth leads. The 18th minute of play contained lots of excitement as Chloe Maize scored for Georgia, and Ayan Adu tied for Virginia just seconds later. Emily Fox scored in the 37th minute giving Virginia a 2-1 lead entering halftime. Right as the match was about to end, Georgia's Kalli Vogel was able to tie the match, scoring just eight minutes before the final whistle. Both teams played hard in overtime, but neither was able to find the back of the net. In penalty kicks, Virginia’s four goals beat Georgia’s two, giving them the chance for the title on Sunday.
The Cal South 1998 Girls arrived to ODP Championships fervently, getting a 6-0 win against Illinois. Kennedy Smith produced quick results for Cal South, scoring just three minutes after stepping on the pitch. Carly Malatsky added a second first-half goal in the 13th minute. In the second half, Hinsseence Regassa added to the score in the 44th minute. And Sunny Dunphy finished the match with a hat trick which included goals in the 48th, 65th and 78th minutes.