Twelve club soccer teams with players mostly from Johnson County are busy preparing for the United States Youth Soccer Association Region II Tournament Des Moines, Iowa — and hopefully another round of games back home.
Early this month the teams won Kansas State Cup titles that qualified them for the Region II Tournament June 21-26 for 14 Midwest state associations from Ohio to the Dakotas.
The winners at Region II qualify for the National Tournament, which the Kansas Youth Soccer Association will hold July 22-28 at the Overland Park Soccer Complex.
Derek Shoare, coach of the KC Metro Dynamos Under 16 girls team led his team to victory at Region II in 2005.
“When going to regionals with any team you need three things to break in your favor,” he said. “Stay healthy during the five-day tournament, play to your potential and have some luck on your side.”
What does it look like for the 2013 team?
“We have good athletes who can compete with anybody and we have improved nicely in the technical and tactical area so we have a good chance of advancing out of pool play.”
The KC United Rangers U15 girls team is heading to Des Moines after winning its third consecutive state title.
The team reached in the semifinals in 2011 and lost last year in the finals in penalty kicks.
“Our keys to success will be to continue to play as a team” Coach Doug Miller said. “They are battled tested and our experience will be a huge benefit and factor this year.”
Gareth Hughes of Sporting Blue Valley Sao Paulo U18 boys team said, “The key for us doing well is staying injury free and getting injured players back fit. We need the ability to keep possession for long stretches of the game and wear the other teams out.”
Hughes pointed to four key players in Jim Brazeal, Matt Peterson, Clay Stewart and Clint Dunn.
Tom Mura, coach of the Girls 14 Sporting Blue Valley Rowdies 98-99 MRL, said discipline will be important.
“The key for us will be playing our way and not getting caught up in the emotion of the occasion,” Mura said. “It will be important for us that our back line stays tight and plays together led by Kacie Kinley, that our midfield is able to switch play through Amanda Cullom and that Jilian Leetch, Molly Cummings and all our forwards are able to finish.”
Consistency will be key for the boys under 15 Sporting Blue Valley 97-98 NPL club, said coach Angelo Catenacci.
“We need to continue to do the things that got us here,” he said. “Have fun, hard work for 90 minutes, play our style of soccer, stay healthy, encourage each other and you always need a little luck.”
Some of the key players for the team are goalie Jose Camberos, defenders Harris Dewoskin, Jay Stevenson and Trevor Hill, midfielders Wil Boatman and Gianni Catenacci and forwards Peyton Brown and Brody Southwell.
Girls under 13 Sporting Blue Valley Junior ECNL 99-00 coach Shaun Owens wants his players to focus on organization.
“We have to stay organized defensively and be patient when we don’t have the ball,” he said. “If we can defend well and be patient while transitioning to offense, we have a good chance to be successful.”
Some of his key players are goalie Sammy Skiebal, center back Abby Bates and center mid Isabelle Shackelford.
The U13 Sporting KC Academy team is one of the youngest teams to ever win the Kansas State Cup, according to coach Jon Parry.
“We have seven boys that were born in 2001 and the rest were born in 2000,” he said. “The U13 age group is 99-00.”
Some of the team’s key players are goalkeeper Kaia Tupino, defenders Dontell Gilyard and Kyle Reese, midfielders Collin Innes and Massimo McGuire and forward Abdu Kikia.