Eastern New York ODP team the first American squad to make the semifinals of Trofeo Costa Gaia
The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Eastern New York Boys Under-13 South team played in the 25th Annual Trofeo Costa Gaia in Sicily earlier this month and became the first American team to make the semifinals. Eastern New York finished with a 4-2-1 record against top Italian competition with a goal differential of 16 to 5.
The ODP Team, with players from all over New York City and Long Island, swept the first round with three shutouts: a 5-0 win over Castellammare 94, 4-0 over Castelvetrano and 1-0 over Prato.
"Prato was a very good, well-organized team and I switched some of our boys' positions around for that game and they came through," commented Eastern New York ODP coach Manfred Kapper.
The round of 16 saw the New Yorkers continue their shutout streak with a 5-0 win against Real San Giovanni. In the quarterfinals, they met Prato again. This time, the game produced a 0-0 stalemate but the New Yorkers advanced with a 4-3 advantage in the penalty kick shootout.
In the semifinal group stage, a goal off a direct kick at the end of the game gave Inter Milan a 1-0 win. The New Yorkers had played against their Italian opponents for 295 minutes without conceding a goal until that point. Padova defeated the New Yorkers, 4-1, to end the Trofeo Costa Gaia for the ODP Team.
"Our team had no legs against Padova. The Italian teams came with 25 players, we had 18 and two of our players had fallen ill," commented Coach Kapper. "But it was a very good experience for the team. They did very well, even playing on dirt fields that they are not used to seeing."
"We had a great time in Sicily!" exclaimed team administrator Mario Mastronardi.
Top row, left to right: Coach Manfred Kapper, Blake Aronson, Matt Baressi, David Acuna, Dennis Coke, Tyler McElhinne, Mark Shnadshte, Jamie Schubauer III, Coach Fidel Bedoya, Coach Rosario Candela.
Middle row, left to right: Alex Gibbs, Niall Coffey, Tomas Mejia, Sheldon May, Deandre Golding.
Bottom row, left to right: Ashley Boniface, Leo Musacchia, Timoleon Deliyannis, Jeremy Ayala, Marcello Mastronardi, Samuel Steinberg.