The 2018 US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships Finals concluded Tuesday, July 3, in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Four Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer teams won regional titles and will now travel to the US Youth Soccer National Championships, which take place July 24-29, in Frisco, Texas. Congratulations to our four champions!
Check out our Facebook page for more photos from the finals
US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championship Finals | July 3 | Spotsylvania, VA
19U Girls: FC Pennsylvania Strikers 5, Syracuse Development Academy 0
FC Pennsylvania Strikers clinched their second regional title and third trip to nationals in style with a runaway victory in the final.
"We really just tired them out," said captain Adalee Broadbent, a University of Maryland commit. "We were making the ball do the work, and then we finished our chances."
Strikers are coming off a disappointing 2017 National Championship Series by their standards: they finished second in the region before going 0-3 at nationals.
"We lost in the final last year," said Kayla Mesaros, another captain who will head to St. John's. "To end on top is nice."
They'll hope to continue the momentum as they travel to Frisco. Scoring won't be an issue: Strikers accounted for three of the top four scorers in the age group. Emily McNesby's seven goals made her the golden boot winner.
13U Boys: Ukrainian Nationals Black 4, SDor Barca Elite 3 (4-2 in Penalty Kicks)
The Ukrainian Nationals were the comeback kids Tuesday morning. After going ahead 1-0 early, they rallied from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits--the second of those in extra time--to force penalty kicks. From there, the Ukrainians were lethal from the spot. They connected on all four of their kicks to clinch the regional title.
"The boys never gave up. And honestly all this is preparation. They train six nights in a row before we left Philadelphia to come here," said coach Roben Qawasmy. "And it's all about the parents believing in the program, the players believing in the program and the coaches' dedication.
"It feels awesome. They deserve it. We can't wait (to go to nationals)."
14U Girls: Philadelphia Soccer Club Coppa Swarm 2, SJEB Rush Academy 1
What defined Philadelphia Soccer Club Coppa Swarm's run to the regional championship? Strong defense and balanced scoring. In five games, the Swarm gave up just two goals, while scoring 14. And yet, no one Swarm player finished among the age group's top 10 scorers.
That depth should help them as they travel to Frisco.
Madison Crozier, Lisa McIntyre and Olivia Myers chatted with us following their big win. Here's some of what they had to say:
"It's going to take a lot of training. We'll need to work harder than we've worked before."
"We want to prove ourselves as a great soccer team."
"It feels better because we lost in the semifinals last year. We came into this wanting redemption. It felt way better than last year."
15U Girls: Keystone FC Premier 1, GPS NY Regional Team 0 (Extra Time)
Keystone FC's run continued in spectacular fashion. In May, they won the club's first ever State Cup. On Tuesday, they added a regional title.
"It's something we never expected," said Elena Hinkson. "Coming in with 14 players and with two younger girls, we knew it was going to be hard. But just working hard and staying positive the whole time really helped us."
Hinkson scored the game-winner in extra time. She finished the competition with four goals, good for fourth most in the age group.
"Coming into a lot of these games, no one expected us to play this hard," said Hinkson. "So doing this for Keystone really puts us on the map, and sets the stage so (our) other teams can make it into these big tournaments as well."
Their next stop is Frisco, where they hope to surprise more opponents and set an even higher standard for the Mechanicsburg-based club.
"It's crazy. The farthest we've traveled is North Carolina," said Hinkson. "(We're) definitely resting the rest of this week, because we've had a lot of soccer lately. And then getting back at it and focusing on our big goal, which is winning nationals."