US Youth Soccer Region III Championships kick off in Edmond, Okla.
Preliminary Games, Day 1 of 3
EDMOND, Okla. (June 21, 2013) — More than 190 teams kicked off the 2013 US Youth Soccer Region III (South) Championships, presented by the National Guard, Friday at the ESC Complex in Edmond, Okla. Teams from all over the southern United States took to the field representing their home states as the pursuit for a national championship continues.
Four teams started their tournament Friday looking to defend their titles as Region III Champions, with one squad competing for a third consecutive crown.
Two-time defending Region III Champions Under-16 Girls Sting 97 (TX-N) successfully began their pursuit of another title against a familiar foe in Sting Royal 97 (TX-N). Daryl Tibbets opened the scoring for Sting 97 in the 28th minute, and Avery Talley doubled that lead in the 54th minute. Sting Royal drew within one of their club mates when Lauren Ledbetter found the back of the net in the 68th minute. However, Talley sealed the win in the final minutes when she netted her second goal to give Sting 97 the 3-1 win.
Sting 97 head coach Beau Brown said it’s always a high-intensity game when playing an intra-club match, and he believes his team is in for similar competition throughout the week in Edmond.
"I think the experience from past Regional Championships really helped us out this year," Brown said. "It’s going to be hard again this year. It was six days of pure survival last year. I was hoping it would be a little bit easier, but from the first game it seems to be the same high level of competition."
Two other defending Region III Champions — Under-15 Girls Tennessee SC 16 (TN) and Under-15 Boys Sunrise Elite 97/98 (FL) — each got off to a good start with decisive victories, while Under-17 Boys CESA 95 Premier ran into a poised 96 Lobos Rush Blue (TN) squad. CESA had a promising start when Chandler Corley scored just two minutes into the game, but Lobos Rush rebounded with four first-half goals. Luke Parker scored a pair of goals, while Eli Benedetti and Andrew Laurence each had one to help Lobos Rush to the 4-1 win.
In Under-16 Boys action, GSA Phoenix 97 Red (GA) is out to bounce back from a second-place finish in last year’s Region III Championship. GSA entered the event with momentum after having captured the 2012-2013 US Youth Soccer National League Under-16 Boys Red Division title, but it found stiff competition in its opening game in Edmond against TSC Hurricane 97 Boys Spears (OK). The teams appeared to be on their way to a scoreless draw until GSA’s Yosef Samuel scored the winner in the final moments to give GSA a hard fought 1-0 win.
Under-19 Girls NASA 12 Elite II (GA) needed late heroics of its own to earn a tough 1-1 draw against TBU Premier Girls 93 (FL). NASA 12, Region III Champions in 2011, is out to reclaim the title after falling in the semifinals last year in Greenville, S.C. A 48th-minute goal by TBU’s Alyssa Rosati put NASA 12 in a hole for much of the second half, but Bria Washington’s late goal in the 84th minute tied the score at 1, and that’s how it would finish.
Nearly 200 of the top US Youth Soccer boys and girls teams from the 12 State Associations that make up US Youth Soccer Region III will compete for the 2013 regional title. Preliminary games will be held June 21-23 with quarterfinals, semifinals and finals June 24-27. All games will be played at the ESC Complex in Edmond, Okla.
Regional winners of the Under-13 through Under-19 age groups earn a berth to the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 22-28 at Overland Park Soccer Complex in Overland Park, Kan.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the Under-13 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-15 through Under-18 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 88 teams.
Follow the moments from the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series on Twitter
and share the moments with us on Facebook