Sports

Crossfire Premier will play for national championship thanks to Oganga's goal

Thomas Jefferson senior-to-be Jim Oganga tallied a huge goal in the 90th minute Thursday that sent his Crossfire Premier soccer team into the under-18 United States Soccer Development Academy National Championship game.

The Redmond-based Crossfire team beat the Derby County (Mich.) Wolves, 2-0, to win their four-team group with a 2-1-0 record. CASL Chelsea FC (N.C.) Academy also finished 2-1-0, but Oganga's goal gave Crossfire a two-goal differential during the tournament, compared to only one goal by Chelsea FC.

Crossfire will take on Varder, a team from Michigan, at 7 p.m. at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. on Saturday, July 17, for the U-18 national championship. Varder won their four-team bracket with a 2-1-0 record.

Crossfire Premier also includes recent Federal Way High School graduate Kelyn Rowe and Decatur grad Joshua Smith. Rowe, a forward, is headed to UCLA in the fall and Smith, a midfielder, will play next season at Oregon State University.

During the group stage of the US Soccer Development Academy National Championships, Crossfire opened with a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas on July 11. They then beat CASL Chelsea, 1-0, on July 13, with Rowe assisted on the only goal of the game. The win set up Thursday's 2-0 win over Derby County.

The US Soccer Development Academy Playoffs Finals Week featured the top-eight teams in the country, who qualified during separate tournaments in North Carolina last month.

"Crossfire Premier being among the top two U-18 soccer clubs in the nation is a sensational result," said Crossfire head coach Bernie James. "I am proud of the extraordinary effort made by our boys. All the teams in this group are excellent, and it came down to the last day where three of us could have gone through. Now, we will work even harder to win the final."

The Development Academy is a partnership between US Soccer and the top youth clubs around the country to provide the best players in the country with an everyday environment designed to produce the next generation of National Team players.

The Academy also connects National Team coaches directly with the Academy clubs to develop and identify players and coaches for future Youth National Teams. Each Academy team is evaluated by a National Team coach at least 10 times each year and each club receives two formal evaluations in over 100 categories each year from National Team staff.

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