2018 US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships kick off in Spotsylvania, Va.

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CONTACT: Ryan Loy, US Youth Soccer Communications, rloy@usyouthsoccer.org or 800-4-SOCCER

2018 US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships kick off in Spotsylvania, Va.

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (June 29, 2018) — More than 220 teams, including five former US Youth Soccer National Champions or finalists, kicked off the 2018 US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships Friday at the Publix Virginia Soccer Training Center and Embrey Mills Complex in Spotsylvania, Va.

Teams from all over the northeast United States took the field with the goal of taking the next step toward claiming the coveted US Youth Soccer National Championship in their respective age group.

The 2018 Eastern Regional Championships feature the top teams in the 12U through 19U age groups from the 15 State Associations that comprise the US Youth Soccer East Region. Group play games continue through Sunday, July 1, and semifinal matches take place Monday, July 2. The regional champions will be crowned following final games on Tuesday, July 3.

Just one of nine defending Eastern Regional Champions dropped points on Friday, while many other challengers picked up wins to begin their pursuit of a regional title. After failing to advance out of group play last year despite not conceding a goal, 17U Boys Shelton FC (CT) is looking to take the next step in 2018. Picking up three points in a back-and-forth opening game has coach Ralph Mallozzi and Shelton off to the right start.

“This being our third year here, starting positive is a big thing,” Mallozzi said. “Being up 1-0 and going down 2-1 before getting two late ones to win the game was a really good feeling. It sets the tone for the rest of the tournament.

“Our goal is trying to advance and getting those three points early makes a big, big difference. It settles the nerves a little bit. The boys were a bit anxious. We’re trying to be a contender this year, so it really helps.”

Regional winners of the 13U through 19U age groups earn a berth to the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 23-29 at the Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas.

The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the 13U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the 14U through 18U Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 teams.

Highlights from Friday:

12U Girls
In Group A, Far Post 2006 Premier (VT) kicked off its week with a 6-2 win against RVSC Select 2006 (WV). The Vermont side needed just four minutes to grab a lead, as Rachel Kelley opened the scoring. In the ninth minute, Essie Loomis made a determined run into the box and slid a shot inside the right post to double the advantage. Loomis put Far Post in front by three with another goal shortly after, but Adrienne Altizer pulled one back from RVSC before the break. Ava Moore and Kelsi Pratt added goals early in the second half to push the Far Post lead to 5-1, and Loomis completed her hat trick to extend the advantage. Mia Simpson added a late goal for RVSC, but Far Post held on for the big opening day win.

13U Boys
After one day of play, SDor Barca 05 Elite (VA) sits on top of Group C thanks to a 4-0 win against WSC Breakers (NJ). The score was tight for much of the contest, as Brian Chavez’s 16th-minute goal provided the only difference for nearly an hour of play. However, Chavez doubled the lead with a strike in the 52nd minute, and Jose Armando Amaya Mendez pushed the Barca advantage to 3-0 later in the match. Diego Caceras added a goal in the game’s final minutes to seal the 4-0 victory for the Virginia side.

14U Girls
Philadelphia SC Coppa Swarm 04 (PA-E) grabbed early control and didn’t look back in a shutout victory against FC Boston Scorpions North (MA). Madison Crozier broke through in the 10th minute to give the Swarm the lead, and Isabelle Sontheimer and Lisa McIntyre pushed the advantage to 3-0 before halftime. In the 57th minute, Philadelphia’s Maya Naimoli blasted a shot through traffic that found the far corner, and McIntyre slide a shot inside the left post shortly after to add her second goal of the game. Annice Booker capped the victory by adding her name to the score sheet, as Philadelphia rolled to a big Group C win.

15U Boys
Three second-half goals helped power FC Tenancingo (DE) to a 4-2 win against Rams FC Liverpool 03 (RI). FC Tenancingo’s Francisco Turcios and the Rams’ Ryan DeLesssio traded first-half strikes to send the game to halftime tied at 1-1. Christian Valasquez-Zarate and Julio Cesar Lopez each scored midway through the second half to put the Delaware side in front, 3-1. The Rams came close to pulling within a goal, but three headers in a matter of five seconds were denied — once by the crossbar and twice by the keeper. A minute later, Nicholas Perez scored at the other end to put the Delaware side in front by three goals. Matthew May recorded a late strike for the Rams, but Tenancingo held on for the 4-2 win.

16U Girls
An early goal provided all the difference, as Century V United 2002 Gold (PA-W) picked up three points with a 1-0 win over SAC Premier Blue (MD). It took less than two minutes for Madeline Delucio to find the back of the net and give Century V an early 1-0 lead. SAC rebounded after conceding the early goal and kept the game close while looking for an equalizer. Century V nearly doubled its lead shortly before halftime, but a ball that was chested into the goal was called back for offside. The PA West side’s defense remained organized throughout the match, and it held on for the clean sheet in the 1-0 win.

17U Boys
In a game full of momentum swings, Shelton FC (CT) came away with a hard fought 3-2 win over Timberwolves SC 01/02 (NH) to begin Group B play. The Timberwolves came out strong, as Cameron Ross used his speed down the right wing to produce a couple early chances for a breakthrough. However, Shelton absorbed the early pressure and took a 35th-minute lead when Tiago Frazao squared a ball to Justin Horvath, who tucked a shot into the right corner from close range. Ross finally broke through immediately after the break to pull the Timberwolves level, and Jacob Stewart found the back of the net in the 58th minute to put the New Hampshire side in front. That lead lasted until Shelton earned a penalty kick, and Horvath converted it for his second strike of the game. The Connecticut side ran with that momentum and found a game-winner in the 83rd minute, as Frazao received a pass at the top of the box and slid a first-time shot inside the left post — giving Shelton the 3-2 win.

18U Girls
Century V Gold (PA-W) pulled away from Syracuse Development Academy (NY-W) to pick up a 5-1 win to open Group A action. The PA West side led for a majority of the match thanks to a Sarah Sinnott goal in the opening five minutes. Century V continued to pressure the SDA back line for much of the first half and managed to double its lead with the final kick before the break. Landy Mertz received a pass in behind the defense and used her first touch to round the keeper before sliding a shot into an open net from a tight angle. In the second half, Krystyna Rytel and Sinnott extended the lead to 4-0 before Madison Gilhool pulled a goal back for Syracuse. Mertz converted a late penalty kick to cap the Century V victory.

19U Boys
Former US Youth Soccer National Champion Loudoun Red (VA) earned a tough 1-0 win against an experienced Penn Fusion 99 Thomas-Scott (PA-E) side in Group A action. Ethan Del Hierro found the back of the net in the 36th minute to give Loudoun and key opening goal. The Virginia side leaned on its defense, which has been a strong point in its regional and national success, and held on for a shutout victory. The three points puts Loudoun on its way, as it looks to return to the National Championships for a chance to play for the James P. McGuire Cup.

Daily reports and complete results from the tournament are available on http://www.idevmail.net/link.aspx?l=14&d=26&mid=3689921&m=10253

Follow the moments from the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series on Twitter and share the moments with us on Facebook and Instagram.

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About the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series – The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides more than 10,000 teams from US Youth Soccer’s 55 State Associations the opportunity to showcase their abilities against the best in the nation while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play. The yearlong competition begins with over 185,000 players in the US Youth Soccer State Championships. These champions and selected wildcard teams, through US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues, advance to compete in one of four US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. Champions (13U through 19U) from each regional event advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships. The 14U through 18U Boys and Girls age groups have four teams representing the US Youth Soccer National League. Overall, the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides the nation’s top collegiate coaches with the premier stage to identify and scout the most coveted players in the country. For more information, visit championships.usyouthsoccer.org.

Media Request: When referring to the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series, the most prestigious event in youth sports, please refer to the event as US Youth Soccer National Championship Series on first reference and National Championship Series on anything thereafter. Never refer to as NCS or USYS NCS. We appreciate your cooperation.

About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer) – US Youth Soccer – “The Game for ALL Kids!®” is the largest youth sports organization in the country and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, and over 900,000 administrators, coaches and volunteers in 55 member State Associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. For more information, visit http://www.USYouthSoccer.org.

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