U13 U14, U15 Boys NPL/USSDA Jrs; U13 Girls Blue and U14 Girls White Sweep Group Play En Route
Appleton, WI- Though in total, FC Milwaukee sent fewer teams to compete in the Wisconsin State Championship Tournament this Memorial Day weekend, the teams sent have fared quite well winning 5 of 6 groups in which they competed.
FC Milwaukee Nationals' U13, U14 and U15 Boys USSDA Juniors and U13 Girls Blue and U14 Girls White (2nd team) each posted 3-0 records in group play to advance to the semi-finals next Saturday, June 2nd. Though they battled valiantly, the club's USYSA U16 Boys were a touch overmatched falling from the tournament with a record of 2 losses and 1 tie.
An injury-riddled U13 Boys USSDA Juniors route to the semis was paved by decisive 4-1 and 8-0 wins over Madison 56ers Red and Mequon United U12 Premier, in addition to a hard fought 1-0 victory over a scrappy FC Madison Gold side. The only goal conceded was scored in the final 10 seconds of game 1, a testament to the team's defensive work rate and the quality of back up goal keeper Ryan Callan's efforts minding the nets.
U13 Boys Coach Chris McCreary remarked, "Our objectives this weekend were to take one game at a time, continue working to fine tune our play and earn as many opportunities to play as possible through this competition. Though game 3 wasn't an easy one, I was happy that the boys remained poised, unselfish and commited to the cause." Goals were scored by Trey Goodnetter, Simar Perez, Kamryn Pegues, Sam Thomann and Zak Wegner.
The U14 Boys USSDA Juniors defeated SC Waukesha Blue 4-2, Appleton SC Venom 6-1 and MK Tosa U14 Blue 4-0. Director of Coaching Peter Knezic noted the U14 Boys ability to keep possession of the ball and create chances. However, Knezic was most pleased with Nat Esten who stepped up when the team needed someone to play goalkeeper for the injured Jesse Norman at a difficult time of year. "He's improved each and every week," said Knezic.
After 2-1 and 4-1 victories against North Shore and Appleton that did not show the true strength of his team, Coach Mark Lambrecht's U15 Boys USSDA Juniors put together a complete and dominating effort against Rush Wisconsin to advance to the semi-finals. Leading 1-0 at half, the 15s came out with a truly dominating physical effort and scored four second half goals to win the game 5-0. Strong midfield defending, good defensive organization and steady finishing led the way. On the weekend, goals were scored by Armend Kamberi, Griffin Kerwin, David Castillo, Chad Peterson, Taylor Goddard and Mitchell Noreen.
On the girls side, U13 Girls Blue, coached by Laura Culhane scored 20 goals for, and allowed none against, in matches against LCU U13 Red (6-0), Rush Wisconsin Girls Blue (8-0) and De Pere Select U13 (6-0). Coach Culhane remarked, "It was a total team effort on both sides of the ball. The team remains confident for next weekends' challenge."
Meanwhile the U14 Girls White team coached by Tony Wright battled to a 1-0 win in games 1 and 3 versus Tosa Kicks U14 Girls Blue and Rush Wisconsin Blue 97/98 and won more decisively in game 3 bagging a 3-0 victory over Oshkosh United U14 White. Coach Tony Wright said, " The girls played extremely well all weekend, making it very difficult for our opponents to get any kind of rhythm." Goals were scored by Hannah Stewart, Eden Charles and Jess Cooley.
FC Milwaukee Nationals sent fewer teams to the USYSA/WYSA sanctioned competition due to obligations and restrictions placed on its top girls U14-U18 and U16-U18 top boys teams. The club's top girls and boys teams compete in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL for girls) and United States Development Academy (USSDA for boys) respectively. These teams forego state competition to compete in the nation's most exclusive and competitive leagues for girls and boys.