Three of SOCA’s Elite teams spent a portion of the holiday season competing in the renowned Disney Showcase tournament in Orlando, Florida, where each achieved notable success. The nationally famous event attracts top teams from around the country and from around the globe. This ultimate youth soccer showcase is fiercely selective, with most teams considering acceptance a mark of honor. Success at the tournament indicates the high quality of the SOCA squads on a grand scale.
To start the holiday event, the SOCA boys U-18 and U-16 Elite squads traveled together by bus December 26-31, departing in the wee hours after Christmas dinner; while the U17 girls flew south December 30 and returned January 4, with hardware in hand.
SOCA’s senior team opened the competition against the reputable Dallas Texans, earning a scoreless draw. The match would be an indicator of the demanding level of play to be expected in the bracket. In the second match SOCA faced the exceedingly speedy and technical SAA Real Madrid from Miami, Florida. The scintillating match was played at an uncommonly high pace, forcing both teams to compete at the limits of their technical and tactical abilities. With the score tied 1-1, SAA managed to steal a goal against the run of play off a corner kick in the 80th minute. SOCA then had to press the match and gave up a third goal on a stellar long distance shot in added time. Needing a win to advance, the SOCA squad jumped all over a rugged Force FC squad from Michigan in the third match, earning a convincing 3-1 win. SOCA Elite was prevented from advancing to the play-off round by a surprise upset in the other final group match. For full group results follow this link: http://events.gotsport.com/events/results.aspx?EventID=32215&GroupID=284747&Gender=Boys&Age=18
The VYSA State Cup vice-champions earned another challenging second place finish against regional rivals. In group play the SOCA Elites cruised to three consecutive 2-0 wins against Maryland United, SYA (VA) and North Carolina Alliance. The team hit full stride in the third match with a comprehensively high quality performance, thus earning the right to play in the championship match on December 30 against Charlotte United (NC). After a dream start, SOCA was up 1-0 at five minutes, and looked set to control the match. Charlotte bounced back two minutes later to knot the score. From there the match was a see-saw battle with Charlotte notching the final goal and the 3-2 win in added time. SOCA carried home the silver trophy, looking forward for its next chance at gold. For full group results, follow this link: http://events.gotsport.com/events/results.aspx?EventID=32215&GroupID=284723&Gender=Boys&Age=16
After recovering from travel, the SOCA girls earned a tough 1-0 win in their opener on New Year’s Eve against a very dangerous PA Classics team. It was a great way to cap off 2013, and look ahead to 2014. In their New Year’s Day match-up, SOCA fell 2-1 to North Carolina Alliance in a game the girls felt they could have won. Taking out their frustrations in game three, SOCA drubbed Jersey United 6-0, sending the Elites through to the consolation match on January 3. In the play-off SOCA was able to out-wit and out-battle Challenge SC (TX) for a 2-0 win and thus claim the bronze trophy for their group. For complete standings and results follow this link: http://events.gotsport.com/events/results.aspx?EventID=32216&GroupID=284781&Gender=Girls&Age=17
The combined record for SOCA at the exclusive event is seven wins, one tie and three losses, an impressive showing for the local club. The great competition, first rate facilities and quality services associated with the event, along with the huge attendance by college coaches, makes the Disney Showcase highly desirable for any serious club.
SOCA’s Executive Director, Bill Mueller, coached the U18 squad and traveled with the U16’s, seeing them in action. Mueller enthusiastically praised all three teams. “I am really pleased with the event and the terrific performances of our players. Our teams were able to do very well on the field, but of equal importance they showed great maturity and responsibility throughout the trips. As a club we can be very proud of our athletes. They performed well, behaved exceptionally, and represented all of us with class and distinction. These are the type of experiences that develop great players, build great teams, and enhance the reputation of great clubs. All the players and families are to be applauded for their efforts and performance.”
SOCA’s Director of Coaching, Dan Ensley, coached both the U16 boys and the U17 girls, guiding them to their successes.
The SOCA boys and girls U18-U15 Elite teams will next compete in the CCL Winter Showcase, February 7-9, in Richmond, VA. The event will nearly bring to a close the CCL league season for the high school aged teams, with only one final match-up against Freestate (MD) remaining.