Monday, July 2, 2012

Five clubs find success for Idaho at USCS Regionals in Seattle

Idaho Thunder - Champions, U17B Super Group
There may have been only seven teams from five different Idaho-based clubs at the US Club Soccer Northwest Regional tournament June 23-26, but they certainly acquitted themselves quite well with four teams advancing from group play. Three teams reached the final in their respective bracket with the Idaho Thunder’s lone team winning the U17 Boys Super championship.

“The Thunder U17B put all egos and attitudes aside, playing as a team determined to win regionals,” said Briggs Anderson, the team’s coach and the club’s Director of Coaching & Player Development. “All players played as a single unit not allowing for any weakness on the field. The intensity and team work put the Thunder back in Nationals where they will try to build on last year’s finalist result."


The Thunder U17B have played together for many years and remain a team with high expectations on the field and “higher expectations in the classroom,” added Anderson.

Jake Nelson (Boise, ID) scored eight goals in four games while Tim Mueller (Post Falls) added to the effort by scoring and assisting in every game. Also leading the team offensively was Mason Sanchez (Lake City HS) with Jake Kraut from Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep leading the team’s defensive unit.  

Anderson’s squad won their group with a 2-0-1 record, opening with a narrow 4-3 win over Tynecastle (Everett, WA). They played the Northwest Nationals (Lynnwood, WA) to a 2-2 draw in the second match and finished up with an 8-1 drubbing of Washington Crossfire (Redmond, WA). In another close contest, they edged out a side from Greater Renton FC, 3-2, in the championship match.


Real Boise, Finalists U16B Super Group
Real Boise had two entries in the tournament. The club’s U16 Boys Super bracket entry reached the tournament final for third consecutive year. After finishing second in the US Club National Championship – hosted n their hometown a year ago – the team returned to defend their regional title, though they moved up to the Super group after previously competing in the Premier flight.

The team advanced from group play with a 2-1-0 record, rebounding from a 3-1 loss to the Northwest Nationals in their opening game. They won 3-1 in the second match versus Oswego Southside Soccer Academy (Lake Oswego/Portland, OR) and edged Whatcom FC (Bellingham, WA), 3-2, to reach the Final, where they were topped, 2-1, by the Spokane Shadow.

“Our team features six Basque players and one Spanish player, who come from Spain as part of our club's international exchange program, which takes place every summer,” said Director of Coaching & Executive Director Juanjo Carmona-Serradilla, noting Idaho’s large Basque community. “We are hoping we are invited to the finals in Chicago at the end of July.”

The club’s U14B Super entry nearly reached the final as well, finishing tied for first in its group with Washington Crossfire at 2-1-0, but finishing second on tiebreakers for the group and wild card spots in the semifinals. The team fell 4-3 in the opening game to the Spokane Shadow before coming back to win the next two. They downed group-winner Washington Crossfire 3-1 and then nipped Emerald City FC (Seattle), 4-3.


The only other Idaho club with two entries, NIUtd saw its U16G advance in the Premier bracket.

“The team is coached by Bryan Haney and James Gronenthal, and has players from Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene, and Moscow,” said Todd Robinson, who led the U17G Premier side, which features a squad comprised only of players from Sandpoint.

“There are only three true U17 players. The majority are U16 or U15, so it's a pretty young team playing up,” he added about the team he coaches with Ben Twigg.

The U16 team advanced from its group via a tiebreaker after finishing tied at 2-1-0 with SoccerEdge Academy (Spokane, WA) in cross-group play. They opened with a 3-1 win against Pacific FC before falling to the Northwest Nationals, 2-0. They bounced back with a narrow 1-0 decision against Washington Crossfire to finish atop their group. Whatcom FC, winners of the third group, took the semifinal, blanking North Idaho United, 3-0, en route to a dominating perfect run to the championship.

The young U17 side faced tough opposition, falling 4-0 in its first two outings in cross-group play to Washington Crossfire and Vancouver Timbers (Portland) before getting their own big win, 5-0, against FC Alliance (Seattle). 


The club’s lone entry also advanced in the U16G Premier bracket, making two of the four semifinalists from Idaho. Valley Thunder opened with a 4-1 victory against Kajumulo FC (Puget Sound Premier League) before facing bracket juggernauts Whatcom FC in a 4-0 loss in the second match. They came back to top Cascade FC (Snoqualmie, WA), 3-0, in the final group game to earn the final semifinal berth.

The team took a narrow 1-0 decision against Northwest Nationals in the semifinals, setting up a rematch against WFC, who dominated in a 6-1 victory for the title.

COEUR d’ALENE STING – Coeur d’Alene, ID

Led by former PDL Spokane Shadow player Kenny Thompson, the club’s lone entry in the U16B Premier bracket fared well with a 1-1-1 record. The Sting opened with a 2-0 win and played Magic City SC (Billings, MT) to a 1-1 draw in the second match against Washington Crossfire. With a chance to advance to the final, the Sting fell, 3-1, to eventual champion Vancouver United (Vancouver, WA).

For more information: USCS Tournament Page