Sports

Okoli, Peterson and Hanson will play in prestigious soccer tournament with club team

Three local high school soccer players will compete at the first-ever United States Soccer Development Academy Finals Week at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif., July 10-17.

Todd Beamer juniors-to-be Ugo Okoli and Troy Peterson, along with Jefferson junior Chase Hanson, will be playing for the Washington Premier FC under-16 in California. Washington Premier FC qualified for the US Soccer Finals Week by winning their four-team bracket championship last week in Greensboro, N.C. by beating CASL Chelsea, 1-0, in the group championship match. Washington Premier FC finished 2-0-1 during the US Soccer Development Playoffs. They also beat Match Fit Chelsea, 3-1, and tied Michigan’s Vardar, 2-2. Washington Premier will be joined by seven other group winners in California.

The teams will all play on the fields used by the U.S. National Team Programs, including the Men’s National Team.

Washington Premier FC will be joined in California by Derby County Wolves (Group A winners), New York Red Bulls (Group B), Chicago Magic AS Monaco (Group C), FC Dallas (Group D), Cal Odyssey (Group E), PDA (Group G) and Greensboro Youth Soccer (Group H).

Each group will face off in a round-robin format, with the two group winners facing off for the national championship. Second-place teams will meet for a third-place match, following down into a seventh-place match between the two fourth-place teams from each group.

The Development Academy playoff system was created to add to the number of meaningful games for Academy athletes, further enhancing the player development process. Since its launch in the fall of 2007, the Academy has improved the training environment, provided relevant, high-level matches on a consistent basis, increased the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams and provided players, coaches and referees with structured programming.

Okoli, Peterson and Hanson are joined on the Washington Premier FC team by players from places like Auburn, Tacoma, Port Orchard, Sammamish, Olympia, Des Moines and Puyallup.

The team is coached by former Decatur High School head coach Jimmy McAlister, who led the Gators to back-to-back state championships in 2000 and ‘01.

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