LAYTON, Utah — Placing two local teams in the championships of their respective age groups at a major soccer tournament is pretty impressive.
Winning both would have been remarkable, but claiming one title is still worthy of high praise.
During the Memorial Day weekend, the Elite FC soccer clubs nearly pulled off a double-title performance at the Wasatch Classic, in Layton, Utah.
The U13 squad suffered a defeat during the tournament, but the loss did not come in the game that mattered most — Elite FC winning the championship 5-4.
Elite FC opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory but fell in a low-scoring contest against a tough opponent in the second game by a final of 1-0.
However, through points, Elite FC pushed into the semifinal — winning the contest with ease by a score of 4-1 — advancing to the championship game.
The semifinal win came by a comfortable margin, the championship appearing it would be another lopsided victory.
Not so fast.
After building a 4-0 lead in the first half against AYSO United Elite, Elite FC found itself in second-half dogfight — AYSO mounting three-unanswered goals.
With the deficit sliced to one, Elite FC responded with what proved to be the game-deciding goal.
Trailing 5-3, AYSO added another goal and once again knifed the margin to one.
Elite FC fought tooth and nail and hung on for a 5-4 victory in the title match.
“First off I want to thank all the parents for all the support and trust in our club Elite FC,” said coach Nestor Pulgar. “This one was a special win for us as it was the last game for one of our players, Miguel La Madrid. Miguel has been with us for three years and we are going to miss him. Thank you to his parents for letting us coach him. Before the tournament, the team decided they were going to win this one for Miguel and they did it.”
While the U13 program took home the championship, the Elite FC U10 boys nearly pulled off the feat as well — falling one game short.
The team opened the tournament with a victory against Wasatch, followed by a loss to Idaho Rush — a team the boys would see again.
Elite FC pushed its way to the final with a victory over Wasatch, earning another date with Idaho Rush.
The championship match provided the same result, Idaho rushing to the title — beating Elite
FC for the second time.
“The team played really great this weekend with goals scored by Teagan Perez, Oscar Becerra, Alek Villegas, Luis Martinez and Cooper McGinnis,” said coach Alex Villegas. “The entire team played a huge role in making the finals and taking second place — our goalie, Blake Vannoy, and the rest of the team; Adan Perez, Christian Arellano and Valentin Kulisek.”