Sports

U.S. National Cup Finals: 2 Federal Way girls soccer teams take top prize

The Federal Way United Reign ‘93 Purple team celebrates the winning goal in the championship game of the United States National Cup finals in Virginia Beach, Va. on Tuesday. The winning goal against Wall SC Wombats of New Jersey, was headed in by Madison Hibbard. The U-14 team won the game, 2-1. - Courtesy photo
The Federal Way United Reign ‘93 Purple team celebrates the winning goal in the championship game of the United States National Cup finals in Virginia Beach, Va. on Tuesday. The winning goal against Wall SC Wombats of New Jersey, was headed in by Madison Hibbard. The U-14 team won the game, 2-1.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Federal Way United U-14 and U-13 girls soccer teams outlast other programs in Virginia Beach

The Federal Way United Soccer Association captured its first — and second — national soccer titles last week.

A pair of local girls soccer teams triumphed at the United States National Cup finals in Virginia Beach, Va. on Tuesday. The FWU Reign ‘93 Purple won the under-14 Super Group championship and the Reign ‘94 Purple won the title in the under-13 Super Group. The Federal Way United soccer club was only one of two clubs at the tournament to field more than one national champion.

The US National Cup is a prestigious and highly competitive national tournament, sponsored by US Club Soccer. The tournament started with nine regional qualifying tournaments in early July, involving 1,400 boys and girls teams from across the country.

Based on their performances, GotSoccer.com, which ranks youth soccer teams, currently ranks the ’93 Reign Purple as the second best U-14 team in Washington and the 20th best in the country. The Web site rates the ’94 Reign Purple as the best team in Washington in its age group and the 25th best in the country.

Both Federal Way teams began their journey on the Fourth of July weekend, competing in the US Club Soccer Regional Championship in Boise, Ida. Reign ’94 Purple won five straight games over teams from Minnesota, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to secure the Super Group Regional Championship.

Ironically, Reign 93 Purple almost didn’t make it to the national finals. Hampered by injuries during the previous season, the team’s poor 2007 record had tournament officials seeding the team in the lower-level Premier Division, which didn’t include a path to the finals.

That path opened up, however, as the girls dominated the opposition while winning the Premier Division Regional Championship – winning four straight, scoring 18 goals and only allowing two goals. Based on the strength of that performance, US Club Soccer officials promoted Reign ’93 to the Super Group and offered the team a chance to play in the national finals.

The team started the national tournament off right with a 1-0 win over Eastern FC of Connecticut. Midfielder Breanna Strauss found midfielder Kasey Carrel, who struck a left-footed volley from 20-feet out for the winning score.

In the second game, Reign ’93 met a physical, well organized FC Fort Worth team. The Texans put the Federal Way girls down a goal in the first half. But Federal Way striker Hannah Friedman tied the game in the second half after midfielder Chelsa Jensen served up a free kick into the goal area. Friedman’s frontline partner, Madison Hibbard, looked to have scored the game-winner with eight minutes left, but her goal was ruled to be offside and the game finished a 1-1 draw.

With a win and a tie, everything came down to Monday’s final qualifier game against a fast, attacking Rush Nike team from Michigan. The Reign fell behind by two goals in the first half.

Jensen again helped spark the team, making a mazy run through the Michigan defense before firing a laser shot into the back of the net to bring the Reign within a goal. After a foul outside the Michigan box, Jensen delivered a free kick into a swarm of purple jerseys near the Michigan goal. Defender Obia Muoneke got enough of the ball to knock it across the line for the equalizer.

The 2-2 draw gave the Reign ’93 a crucial point in the standings, moving them ahead of fellow Washington team Dosveedanya and into the finals Tuesday against the Wall SC Wombats of New Jersey.

The championship game proved to be every bit as tough as the preceding three games of the tournament. The Wombats took the Reign by surprise launching a ball into the Purple goal in the first minute for a 1-0 lead.

But the Federal Way girls were used to mounting comebacks and got right back into the game when Friedman’s hard work in the box drew a foul and a penalty kick. Carrel tucked the ball away for the equalizer and the teams entered the half tied at 1-1.

The scoreline changed early in the second half when Hibbard beat the Wombat defense to a corner kick, heading the ball past the keeper at the near post for a 2-1 Reign lead. Goalkeeper Breanna Zicarelli and the Reign defense preserved the score during a nervy finish that saw the Wall team press hard for a goal.

Although head coach James Cecil cautioned his team not to give up early goals, the girls three straight come-from-behind performances defines the character of his team.

“They live on their will to win,” said the former Federal Way United Storm player. “In each game, they refused to surrender their goal of being national champions.”

The Reign ’93 team is Janell Carlson, Kasey Carrel, Nicolette Carnahan, Madison Cecil, Kenna Friedman, Hannah Friedman, Ashley Graves, Madison Hibbard, Chelsa Jensen, Alicia Markey, Obia Muoneke, Danielle Robinson, Sydney Rogalla, Annalise Rutt, Breanna Strauss, Autumn Talney and Breanna Zicarelli. The team is coached by James Cecil. Jim Rogalla is the team trainer. Lisa Zicarelli is the team manager.

Federal Way United Reign ‘94 soccer won their national championship with a 1-0 victory over Brentwood Apex from Tennessee in Virginia Beach Tuesday.

The championship game culminated the weekend play, which saw the Federal Way girls win three of their four matches against teams from across the country.

The first game on Saturday morning was against the same Brentwood team they beat in the finals. After getting off to a bit of a rocky start, the girls settled in, getting goals from Shyann Glasser and Sarah Shimer to take a 2-1 lead midway through the second half. However, Brentwood tallied two goals over the next eight minutes to walk away with a 3-2 victory.

On Sunday, the Reign faced a tough Revolution Premier team from Texas. Kaysha Darcy supplied the game’s only goal in the eighth minute and outstanding defense kept the Texans out of the net.

Monday was a must-win game against Mount Laurel United from New Jersey. The winner of the match would advance to the finals to face Brentwood.

The Reign girls came out strong in the first half with goals in the first, eight, and 31st minutes from Darcy, Abbey Bergquist (assist from Lena Moreno) and Casey Swanson, respectively. The second half was more of the same with goals from Bergquist (assist to Andrea Ferguson), Emma Healy, and Meghan Cooley (assist from Healy). This completed the 6-0 victory for the Reign girls, and set the stage for a rematch with Brentwood.

The finals saw both teams compete hard on the 90-degree, 90-percent humidity day. Brentwood owned most of the play in the first half, with several dangerous chances against the Reign goal. Federal Way goalkeeper, Shimer, turned away each opportunity to preserve a 0-0 tie at the half.

The second half was more evenly matched, with the Reign’s best scoring opportunity coming on a lofted ball from 20 yards out off the foot of Healy. It settled in the back of the net in the 53rd minute for a 1-0 Reign lead, which held up the rest of the way.

The Reign ‘94 girls included Lena Moreno, Leah Johnson, Allison Lewis, Kadie Brown, McKenzie Phillips, Andrea Ferguson, Shyann Glasser, Casey Swanson, Abbey Bergquist, Kaysha Darcy, Mariah O’Neil, Emma Healy, Brie Hooks, Haeley Mar, Sarah Shimer, Meghan Cooley, Kelli McCluskey, Anna Deweirdt, Audrey Thomas, and Jenna Floyd. The team is coached by Bryan Yorke and Pete Shimer.

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