As the calendar turns, so do the successes of the OEFC youth program. Last month, three teams representing OEFC played in the second leg of U.S. Youth Soccer National League in Orlando Florida. The first leg was played in Raleigh, North Carolina the first week of December.
The ’03 Boys coached by Energy FC Director of Player Development Tommy Riley, the ’02 Boys coached by Mark Howard and the ’01 Boys coached by Jesse Faily each participated in the event.
Teams for the U.S. Youth Soccer National League qualify by winning a regional tournament or are selected by a panel and are the best teams in the country. OEFC had three teams qualify with members on each team from across the state. OEFC is a singular club with teams playing under the banner in three locations, OEFC – Central, OEFC – West and OEFC – East.
The three OEFC teams qualified by winning their regional leagues consisting of the best teams from South Texas, North Texas and Oklahoma. For U.S. Youth Soccer, the United States is divided into four different regions. Teams from Oklahoma play in Region 3, which spans from Oklahoma and Texas, south to the Gulf Coast to Florida, north and east to North Carolina.
The ’03 Boys punched their ticket to the U.S. Youth National Finals by going 6-0-0 in their games and outscoring opponents 18-2. Midfielder Fernando Saldana from OEFC East scored eight goals for the team during the tournament, the second highest total in the age group. Forward David Meacham added four goals and tied for 5th in the tournament.
The ’01 Boys also have assured themselves a place at the U.S. Youth National League Finals by going 5-0-1 in their matches and outscoring their opponents 15-9. The ’01 team featured two players that finished in the top 10 in goals scored in the event. Forward Ediomo Mbosowo scored four times, while forward Matthew McLaws, younger brother of Energy FC defender Shawn McLaws, added three. In the ’01 Boys final game, they tied KSA ’01 Pro-Profile from Georgia. Why is this significant? The tournament’s top goal scorer Deedson Vixamar plays with the KSA squad. Vixamar, who has drawn the attention of several MLS teams, did not score against the OEFC team. He had 13 goals in his team’s five other matches.
The ’03 Boys and the ’01 Boys were two of the first three teams in the country to secure their position for the U.S. Youth Soccer Nationals.
Mark Howard’s ’02 Boys finished the tournament with a 3-2-1 record and outscored their opponents 13-9. Based on their record and games still to be played, it is unlikely they will advance to the U.S. Youth National Finals from this event. Should his team win the upcoming Regional Tournament in North Carolina, his team would earn a spot at Nationals.
The U.S. Youth Soccer Nationals is slated for July 2018 in Frisco, Texas. Each age group is represented by eight teams at the National League Finals. The eight teams consist of the Regional Tournament winners plus group winners from the recently completed National Finals. Last year, the ’98 Boys team coached by Jesse Faily and the ’99 Girls coached by Jimmy and Dria Hampton represented OEFC in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Tournament.
Best of luck to these teams as they continue to represent Energy FC and OEFC with pride at events across the country!