Cal North sent twelve teams to participate in US Youth Soccer Region IV Presidents Cup in Arvada Colorado, doubling the number of participating teams that participated in the 2011 season. The Cal North Presidents Cup champions in U13-U17s along with several wild card teams gave a very strong showing compared to last year’s results.
The weather in the Denver suburb was typical summer weather in the high plains with warm weather in the 90’s on several days, thunderstorms on other days and temperate weather in the evenings. Our teams have proved to be model citizens and displayed excellent sportsmanship. Altitude was a factor, but after the first couple of days the teams seemed to adapt.
Like the weather, the teams’ successes and failures fluctuated from day to day. From the opening kickoff the Cal North teams demonstrated their capabilities in a rewarding first day of competition where only three teams lost their first-round games. Day two proved more challenging and the losses mounted with only two Cal North teams avoiding losses. But a major turn-around on the third day of bracket play resulted in eight of the twelve Cal North teams advancing to quarter finals. Considering only one Cal North team advanced to semifinals last season, the fact that five teams qualified for semis this season was a milestone. Following the U13 boys quarters we knew we were guaranteed to have at least one team that would advance to championships as the two Cal North teams faced off in semifinal games.
Excitement came in several forms during the week. We had a semifinal and a championship game each go to PK; we had one of our players taken to the hospital by ambulance where it took twelve stiches to close a nasty gash on his head (we can report that he is OK); we had a complex-clearing lightning delay on Friday; but the best news of all is that three of the five Cal North won their semifinal matches, and went on to represent our association in championships.
Unfortunately all good things came to the proverbial end as our three finalist teams (U13 Boys SF Vikings Barbarians Red, U14 Girls SASC Top Gun 97 Red, and U17 Girls Redding Missfits Bandits could not hold off the opposition in their final games. The Bandits took Colorado to overtime and the Top Gun pushed their game through 2 OT periods and to the kicks from the mark tie-breaker where they lost 2-3 in PKs. The staff representatives were impressed with the caliber of the players and noticed that even the teams that didn’t move out of preliminary round play were evenly matched with the teams from other states. All of the Cal North teams demonstrated their moxie throughout the week and the knowledge they gained at this event will help prepare them for a run at regionals next season.
It was a wonderful experience being able to help show the families what is so great about being a part of Cal North, Region IV and US Youth Soccer. It was a pleasure to help spread the message of our mission.