On a sultry Fathers’ Day weekend, seven BRYC All Star squads made it to the Sunday afternoon championship games. Two of them earned the highest honor while the other five fell just short but brought home finalist trophies.
The first big winners were the U10 Girls, coached by Dave Diaz and Anning Smith, ably assisted by Charles Lee. It was their second consecutive end-of-season tournament championship, having taken the champions’ trophies at the Herndon tournament in the fall. Based on that victory and the coaches’ strong belief in the quality of their spring squad, the girls asked for and were placed in the tournament’s "Blue" division, pitting them against the strongest squads from the largest clubs in the area. To reach the championship game the BRYC girls had to win their prelinary matches against VSA (Prince William), host FPYC, and McLean, only to earn the right to face powerful Loudoun in the final match.
The championship game would be their biggest challenge of the weekend, as they were down two players and faced a Loudoun squad that was both strong and balanced, but the team perservered, out-hustling their opponents with great tenacity and grit. Fighting through exhaustion and heat cramps, the score was 2-2 draw through regulation and overtime. then, calming themselves for the inevitable penalty kick shootout, the girls focused on execution, and prevailed 3-2. Their positive attitudes, selfless teamwork, and sincere sportsmanship set an example for everyone in attendance. And best of all, they had a great time! Congratulations to the U10 Girls!
The second BRYC championship came from the U13 Boys squad coached by Nick Hoang (this year’s VYSA Recreational Soccer Coach of the Year) and Elisa Yushan. As in the case of the U10 Girls, the U13 Boys were playing in the tournament’s "Blue" Division alongside squads from perrenial powerhouses Herndon, Prince William, McLean, Southwestern, and Vienna. In the final game the boys faced an undefeated PWSI team that had beaten its three qualifying round opponents by an average of 5 goals per game.
The clear underdogs in this David vs. Goliath battle, BRYC’s U13 Boys were one of those opponents, beaten by the PWSI team during the first day in the qualifying stage of the tournament. For the veterans on the team this championship match was even more important because they remembered losing to the PWSI team in the championship of the FPYC tournament last spring as U12’s. As the boys stepped onto the artificial turf fields of Franconia Park in the blistering 90 degree heat, they were inspired by the motivational words of their coaches. But words alone aren’t going to win soccer matches. It was the boys on the field, with the support of their coaches, parents, and fans, who roared to a 5-1 victory to claim the championship trophies, shutting down and silencing their opponents while igniting thunderous cheers of their supporters. Congratulations to the U13 Boys!
The U10 Boys Blue Thunder, coached by Scott Sarratt, wone all three of its preliminary games by at least three goals, but lost in the Championship match to a pre-travel teams from the Northern Virginia Soccer Club (Manassas). The BRYC boys had better field play and outshot their opponents, but after starting strong and taking a 1-0 lead in the first half, was unable to hold it, losing by a final score of 2-1. But the coach noted that making it to the championship game was a pretty good Fathers’ Day reward.
The U11 Boys played in a five team group, with each team playing the other four, and trophies going to the two teams with the best records. As it turned out, BRYC and a team from McLean both had unblemished records of 3-0, with lots of goals for and just a few against, going into their fourth game, against each other, on Sunday afternoon. Maybe it was the heat. BRYC managed but a single goal in the finale against five goals scored by McLean, and came home with the Finalist trophies.
Not to be outdone, the U12 Boys (who play in a combined league with the U11 Boys during the recreational season) coached by Fred Welther and playing in the tournament’s top "Blue" Division against much bigger clubs, made it to the championship game with a record of 2-1-0, including a close win over Vienna and a lopsided victory over Southwestern. Their sole loss was to PWSI (by a score of 0-4) in their opening game on Saturday. PWSI would go on to win all three of its preliminary games, scoring 13 goals while allowing none, setting up a rematch in the finals. This time the BRYC boys were ready, scoring the only goal against PWSI in the tournament. But PWSI was not to be denied a well-deserved championship, scoring two of its own, to come away with a narrow win over a BRYC squad that proved it could play with the big boys.
Finally, the U19 Girls also came away from ther championship match with well-earned Finalist trophies. The team began with a 1-1 tie vs. Loudoun on Saturday morning, on a goal late in the second half by Katie R. In the scorching hot afternoon, Emma R. put in a shot that rattled off both posts to give the team another 1-1 tie vs. SYA. On Sunday morning, BRYC overwhelmed a shorthanded PWSI team by a score of 3-0, on goals by Ryan P., Kaitlin L., and Corine J., setting up a championship game vs. regular season rival SYC.
While BRYC dominated play in the first half, excellent shots were finding the goal "a little too short or a little too narrow," the coach’s amusing way of way of saying "high and wide". SYC was able to convert their few chances into 2 goals by halftime. BRYC got back into the game in the second half, as Katie G. headed in at the far post a strong corner kick from Becky S. But BRYC was unable to score again, and gave up a late goal, ending the game with a 3-1 loss.
Congratulations to all the U19 Girls on their hard fought success in claiming second place, and giving a great send off to our graduating seniors - Anna (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Kortney and Becky (JMU), Corine (NOVA), Kaitlin and Brigette (UVA),
Jennifer (VT), Ellen (GMU), Ryan (Christopher Newport), and Katie (Texas A&M).
(See the separate story on the finalist honors won by the U11 Girls coached by Octavio Alfaro. )