After making the quarterfinal of the USA Cup’s weekend tournament, the Yukon Strikers Selects did one better in the Cup’s weeklong competition last week.
The Yukon team logged three shutout en route to reaching the semifinal of the U12 boys Gold Flight in the huge tournament in Blaine, Minnesota on Saturday.
The USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament is North America’s largest soccer tournament with over 15,000 soccer players on 1,153 teams, from 17 countries, 19 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces.
“It was a fantastic experience – the whole thing – to go and play nine games in a week and get to play really competent teams and a competitive standard of soccer,” said Selects coach Jake Hanson.
“With teams from all over the world, it’s a bit of a soccer carnival.”
The Selects went 2-1 in the round robin to earn a bye into the quarterfinal where they took a close 1-0 win over Wisconsin’s Lakeshore United on Friday. It wasn’t crystal clear who got the first-half goal for the win. Striker Joe Hanson put a half-volley on net that was crossing the line as teammate Ashton Bryant sent it home.
“It was a pretty dramatic goal,” said Jake. “The goalie made the save but couldn’t keep the ball out. It was sort trickling over the line and Ashton came running in and pounded it in the back of the net so there was no question.”
The win was Selects goalkeeper Ole Heath’s third shutout of the week and fourth in total in Blaine. “Ole had a great week,” said Jake.
The Yukon team was then eliminated in Saturday’s semifinal, falling 4-0 to the Minnesota Thunder Academy. It was the Selects’ only multi-goal loss in both tournaments at the USA Cup.
The Selects opened last week’s tournament with a 3-0 win over Minnesota’s Fusion SC on Tuesday, with goals from Joe, Bryant and guest player Aidan McGill.
They then went 6-0 over Minnesota’s Dakota Rev Galaxy on Wednesday. Joe scored three goals, Rhys Faragher had two and McGill one.
The Selects dropped their final round robin match 1-0 loss to Illinois’ Midstate Soccer on Thursday.
The Yukon squad reached the quarterfinal of the U12 boys A Flight in the USA Cup weekend tournament July 10-12. Their only two losses came to the eventual gold and silver medalist teams.
Yukoners help Anchorage take gold
Though the Strikers Selects didn’t come home with USA Cup gold, a handful of Yukon players did with another team.
Five Whitehorse players – Thea Carey, Malorie Hanson, Line Jensen, Jamie Joe-Hudson and Christine Moser – helped Anchorage’s Futbol Select Chicas win gold in the U16 girls Silver Flight.
“I played down there three years ago with essentially the same team and we won gold as well,” said Malorie. “So it was pretty good to get to play with them again. It was a great tournament…
“It was neat for the team to connect through the games.”
The Chicas claimed gold with a 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota’s Fire SC in the final. Malorie scored the tying goal – her second of the tournament – to tie the match in the first half and Carey scored in the shootout to help secure the win.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Malorie. “Thea scored a lot of goals over the tournament. I think she had five or so.”
The Anchorage squad went 2-0 in the round robin before posting two shutouts in the playoffs to reach the final.
The team’s gold came after missing the playoffs – just one goal short in the differential tiebreaker – in the tournament the previous weekend.
“We played well in the week-long – we didn’t play very well in the weekend tournament,” said Malorie.
“It was very hot and it was definitely hard to play in sometimes. But the games went well and I was pretty happy with how it all went.”
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