Bethesda Roadrunners: My Site News: A National Championship Experience

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Monday, July 31
A National Championship Experience
Representing Region I playing in the “Final Four” National Championship against the best U14 teams in the US was a great and memorable experience for the Roadrunners! Not only were the entire Tournament arrangement (incl. fields, refs, logistics, social gatherings, etc.) top notch, but the atmosphere and sportsmanship on and off the field were excellent. While the RRs came up short on the final scoreboard, Nationals provided a boost to the team confidence as we played even with and pushed the ultimate National Champion (Valley United Blast) and Runner-up (Dallas Texans Red) to the limit with closely contested battles to the last whistle. At 2-2 in injury time against Valley United in the last pool game, the RRs had opportunities inside the box, but did not finish to win 3-2 which would have put Valley United in 4th behind the RRs. Instead VU scored the winner on a quick counter to put them into the Championship game. The game against the Dallas Texans was also very close with the RRs failing to convert to tie up the game in a flurry of attacks in the last 10 minutes. The two best teams of the Tournament (VU ands DT), with most consistent track record for the past several seasons ended up playing for the National Title, so no complaints from us. While scoring just as much as the three other National finalists in pool play (4 tallies each), the RRs simply gave up too many goals. Playing great possession soccer with individual flair and creative combinations was good for the spectators and our confidence, but rock solid defense typically wins Tournaments and on this aspect we came up short relative to this level of competition. This was particularly the case in game 1 against the Michigan Wolves where a number of factors (including internal preparations such as late night arrivals to Des Moines) lead to mental lapses and soft goals. The positive is that these issues are “fixable”. We are greatly encouraged we can play so even with the best teams in the US. In total, while not making the final, the RRs came away feeling great about where we are in our development and how we play when we on. Outside the filed, the RRs no doubt will remember hanging out with Aris, Dillon, Cecar, Jonathan (Golden Glove), Eddie (Golden Boot) and the other friends from Valley United. The RRs and VU have cooperated since U12, with Aris having played on both teams (depending on his family’s geographical West or East Coast residency), joint tournament appearances (Dallas Cup), exchange of guest players (Nike Man. U) and regular contact between coaching staff. The exiting and dramatic 3-2 game further strengthened the respect and relationship between the two teams (a VU Blast father taped the game and invited the RRs to relive the thrilling game Friday evening) and naturally the RRs came to cheer the Blast on as they won the National Title. The joint VU-RR team picture was taken right after the exiting game. We take this opportunity to thank Bethesda Soccer Club, Region 1, MSYSA, USYSA and Nike for providing financial support to the Roadrunners to compete in the National Championship Series. With a strong finish to the Roadrunners’ U14 seasons, the team is now looking forward to further build on this strong momentum for the U15 seasons. The Regional Championship Title has guaranteed the Roadrunners entrance not only in Region 1 League play, but also in the premier bracket of major Tournaments. With a skinny roster, the RRs is looking for 2-3 impact players to further strengthen our ability to compete successfully with the best teams in our age group. The RRs plan to fill the fall season doing numerous Tournaments and scrimmages, but will not participate in a league. In the spring 2007 we will again play in the Region 1 Premier League. We wish everyone a great summer and see you in the fall.