One of the best rivalries in all of youth soccer is between two teams that are over 1,000 miles away. Albion SC out of San Diego and Eastside FC out of eastern Washington know each other very well and they both have resumes full of accomplishments. In next week’s US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships, the two squads sit in the same group, and are undoubtedly two favorites to take home the crown.
Albion is a two-time National League champion, and two-time National finalist at the US Youth Soccer championships. In its two trips to the national title game, the team lost one game in overtime and another on a late-game PK. This year, the two-time defending Cal South State cup winners head into the regional tournament with one goal in mind: win this thing to earn a trip to nationals next month in South Carolina.
This team is led offensively by the duo of Ariel Lassiter and Richard Kirouac. Both were named to the Best XI at last year’s National Championships, and Lassiter led the National League in scoring last year. On a roster that includes some big time college commitments, any number of players could step up to score. And on the defensive end, goalkeeper Collin Webb is one of the best in the country. He’s a Regional ODP player and a National Team pool player committed to Indiana for 2013.
Eastside is in a little bit of a different scenario. They have already earned their trip to the National Championships thanks to their first place finish in the National League this spring. They also come into next week’s tournament defending a Region IV crown, so they’ve still got something to play for. Last year at nationals, Eastside finished group play locked in a four-way tie and was eliminated due to tie-breaker. Needless to say, they are out for the gold this time around.
The Washington squad is lead by forward Jordan Morris, a Regional ODP player who was named to the Best XI at last year’s National Championships. And like Albion, they also have a solid keeper. Evan King allowed just one goal in seven matches in National League play this year.
These two teams sure know each other well, and when they open the tournament against each other at 9 p.m. Monday, they both know there’s a lot on the line.
Eastside FC (Group C) – The defending Region IV Champs also won the Disney Showcase and Washington State Cup
Albion SC (Group C) – Finalists at last year’s National Championships also placed second the this year’s National League
SC del Sol (Group C) – Winners of the Far West Regional League this spring – and yes, they are in Group C too
Sereno (Group B) – Arizona State Cup champ also won the Presidents Day Tournament and did well at the Surf College Showcase
Santa Clara Sporting (Group A) – Placed second in the Far West Regional League and won the San Jose Invitational
Players to Watch
Ariel Lassiter, Albion SC – League leader in goals for the National League last year, and was also named to the Best XI at last year’s National Championships
Collin Webb, Albion SC – National Team Player, Region IV ODP Player, committed to Indiana
Richard Kirouac, Albion SC – Named to the Best XI at last year’s National Championships
Jordan Morris, Eastside FC – He was second in scoring in the National League, Region IV ODP Player, and was named Best XI at last year’s National Championships
Evan King, Eastside FC – Goalkeeper allowed just one goal in seven National League matches
William Velasco Villa, Santa Clara Sporting – Region IV ODP Player
Andrew Siddoway, Inter FC – Region IV ODP Player
Patrick Fuchs, Inter FC – Region IV ODP Player
Aaron Caprio, Inter FC – Region IV ODP Player
Matthew Coffey, Inter FC – Region IV ODP Player
Cesar Mendoza, Mt. Hamilton PAC – Region IV ODP Player
Angel Oronia, Mt. Hamilton PAC – Region IV ODP Player
Andoni Trejo, Mt. Hamilton PAC – Region IV ODP Player
Delton Oki, HSC Bulls – Region IV ODP Player
Tyler Blackmer, Boise Nationals – Region IV ODP Player
Ricky Brown, West Coast – Keeper was the Golden Glove winner at the 2009 National Championships when West Coast won the U14 title