Oregon Crowns Two Champions
at Far West Regionals
Albuquerque, N.M., was the place to be in June for the Far West Regionals. The facility was in excellent shape, with grass fields that were well groomed for play. And the Land of Enchantment proved to be just that for two out of our 17 teams that were there to represent Oregon.
The week started off with the teams acclimating to the high-desert climate of heat and elevation. At over 5,000 feet in elevation — nearly a mile above sea level — it took a day for the Oregon teams to adjust. That first day was rough, with our squads earning just five wins or ties to start off the week.
By the end of day two, we were finally progressing up the win category, and teams' chances of advancement were improving. With some strong competition still to come, all had their work cut out for them if any had hope of advancing to the quarterfinals.
By the end of day three, seven of Oregon's 17 teams had successfully made it out of bracket play and were on their way:
- U13 Boys CFC Boca Juniors
- U14 Boys WSM Galacticos
- U14 Girls THUSC Sodium
- U16 Boys WSM Premier
- U18 Girls THUSC Neon
- U18 Boys ESUFC Liverpool Red
- U19 WSM Internationals (Last year's Region IV Champions)
All teams had a day to relax on Thursday and recoup from the hard first three days. Some took advantage of the area and traveled to see what New Mexico had to offer, while others tried to stay cool and mend their injuries.
The fourth day of the tournament brought some exciting play and a number of wins for the Oregon teams. Out of the seven teams advancing to the quarterfinal games, six were victorious in the first knockout stage — a great showing considering how the tournament had begun just four days prior.
On came the semifinal matches and some strong competition. Oregon wasn't going to go down without a fight, and came out on top of three of the six games. The three losses we had this day were each tough games, and were very well-played. The three teams that lost each played excellent and represented Oregon well both on the field and off:
THUSC Neon girls, you rock! Your support for the ESUFC Liverpool team in their final match was commendable. You not only were great supporters but you were awarded the Fair Play award for your play on the field.
WSM Premier boys — what a great bunch of young men. Your parents should be proud of the upstanding gentlemen you are. Your play on the field and your support of the rest of the Oregon teams that were there was outstanding. I had the privilege of sitting with these boys during one of the younger teams' games and you were great supporters of youth soccer.
CFC Boca Juniors boys — you played hard constantly, never giving up. Your support of your fellow teammates was awesome. Your support of your fellow CFC Atlas team was commendable as well. Great bunch of kids and parents.
On came the final matches of the competition, and Oregon still had three teams vying for the title of Region IV Champions:
- U19 Boys WSM Internationals, coached by Monty Hawkins
- U18 Boys ESUFC Liverpool Red, coached by Marc Evans
- U14 Boys WSM Galacticos, coached by Chris Thurley
The first match of the finals was the WSM Galacticos vs. Washington's Crossfire Premier. It was a hard-fought match that came down to great plays by both teams. Ultimately, the WSM Galacticos came up short, losing 2-0 when the final whistle blew. These boys played hard all week and really shined throughout the whole tournament, both on the field and off.
Next came both the WSM Internationals and ESUFC Liverpool Red, who played at the same time on fields across from each other. These were hard games to watch, as both games had excitement and tense moments.
ESUFC Liverpool Red vs. Utah's Inter FC Premier — This game was a unbelievable. Utah came out playing hard from the first whistle, getting the best of the Liverpool team early and scoring the first goal. Liverpool never gave up, though, and came back to tie the game. This game literally came down to the final minutes, when Utah scored again to go back on top, before Liverpool responded one more time to level the game in stoppage time and send it to overtime. Being the team they are, Liverpool never gave up scored two more goals in overtime to win, 4-2, and claim the title of Region IV Champion and a ticket to Overland Park, Kans., to compete for the National title.
As for the WSM Internationals vs. New Mexico's Rush Red Star, this game brought its own excitement, as Internationals went out on top first with a brilliant goal in the first half. New Mexico wasn't finished, though, and scored to tie the match up. With the second half winding down, WSM was still fighting hard and scored again to take a 2-1 lead and win the match. That clinched WSM Internationals' second-straight Region IV Championship and its own ticket to the National Championship in Kansas.
I had a great time watching all the matches by the Oregon teams and there really are too many great highlights to mention. I would like to say that no matter their result, our Oregon teams should be proud of the accomplishments that occurred in New Mexico —whether it was to score a goal, not allow a goal, or just go out and have fun and enjoy the experience, the teams all did Oregon proud.
For complete results of the 2010 Far West Regionals, visit usyouthsoccer.org.