Solar Chelsea 02 Stricker claims a 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships finals
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FRISCO, Texas (July 30, 2017) – Under-15 Boys Solar Chelsea Red 02 Stricker claimed a US Youth Soccer National Championship title, while FC Dallas 00 Premier was a runner-up in the Under-17 Boys division at the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships held at Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco Texas.
Under-15 Girls Solar Chelsea 02 Grado's Gabriella Lovkvist and Victoria Geisert, Under-15 Boys Solar Chelsea Stricker's Christopher Edwards, Riley O'Donnell, Haden Biering and Richard Garcia and Under-17 Boys FC Dallas 00 Premier's Joseph Nelson and Marcos Puga were all named to their respective National Championships Best XI team. Edwards and O'Donnell were also awarded the National Championships Golden Gloves and Golden Ball awards given to the best field player and keeper respectively.
Under-15 Girls Solar Chelsea 02 Grado, Under-15 Boys Solar Chelsea Red 02 Stricker and Under-17 Boys FC Dallas 00 Premier advanced to the National Championships after claiming 2017 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships titles last month in Greensboro, N.C.
Boys and girls teams in multiple age groups earn their way by competing against the top teams in their state and region. US Youth Soccer State Champions and selected wildcard teams are eligible to compete in one of four US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. The champions in the 13U through 19/20U age groups from each regional event will converge in the finals with the National League teams.
Brandon Gast’s second-half goal propelled Solar Chelsea 02 Stricker to the 2017 National Championship title over Region IV Champions Tuzos Academy 02 (AZ). After a scoreless first half, the defender moved down the right side of the field, before having his first attempt blocked. After recovering the ball, Gast fired a second shot that found the far post to put the Region III Champions up 1-0 in the 56th minute. Golden Gloves award winner Edwards and the Solar back-line, which only surrendered one goal in the tournament, recorded its fourth shutout to give Solar Soccer Club its second National Championship in as many years. O'Donnell and Ilean Castorena were first and second in the age group with five and four goals scored respectively.
"We started this year off with high expectations, and these guys worked so hard. They bought in 100 %, and I am so proud of them for grinding," Solar head coach Chris Stricker said. "Everybody out here is so good, and everybody is putting it all on the line. I told our team they have to go out and win the game. No one is going to give it to you, and to have players who have the composure to do it is really special."
FC Dallas fell to Region I Champions Baltimore Celtic SC 2000 (MD) 2-1 in the finals to finish in second place. Baltimore Celtic took control with a goal in the first half, and tacked on a second goal early in the second-half. However, the Region III Champions, who won the semifinals thanks to a come-back effort would respond, when Marcos Puga headed in a cross to pull Celtic’s lead to one in the 73rd minute. That was close as FC Dallas would get, as the match ended 2-1.