New Rochelle, NY - Westchester Flames U20 Men have qualified in the prestigious USL Super-20 event as first alternate in 2011 USL Super-20 League North American Finals presented by Umbro to be held in Tampa, FL from July 21-24, 2011. It’s a huge accomplishment for any team, let alone a group of boys who barely knew each other just a few short months ago. They’ll soon be up against the youth teams from powerhouse soccer organizations like LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire.
The Super-20 Finals is the premier event of the summer for the Super-20 League. After competing during the regular season from May to July, the men’s and women’s divisional winners convene at a top-class facility to battle for the championship. This elite event takes place in the middle of July each year and offers the best competition from all over North America. The 2011 campaign currently sees over 80 teams competing to secure a place in the finals. In the Men’s classification, only 12 teams make it to Finals.
After toughing it out in a short, intense season against some of the nation’s most well-established clubs, the Flames earned a berth at the national competition based on their performance in the largest, and highly-competitive, Mid-Atlantic Division.
U20 Men’s Head Coach Joao de Souza cites, "What impresses me the most about this team is their perseverance. That is something you don’t teach or come to training to learn. That comes from within. In the majority of our games, we always took on a goal and were able to turn the game around. Sean Reilly has been a most effective midfielder and has shown impressive leadership as team captain. We have a lot of talent on attacking and high skill players such as Matheus Gomes, Jovanni Ramos and Ryan Williams. Also, the speed on our team and with a lot of determination to win is Felipe Campos. Our defense is strong and solid such as Kevan Lewis and Nick Sorice who gives confidence and support to our attacking midfielders and forwards. Credit needs to be given to our two goalkeepers Chris Foley, Jr. and Ronald Bonilla who have played very consistently. These are only a few examples of the players who give it all they’ve got as everyone on the team is fully talented and skilled". He also adds, "The success of this U20 Men’s team is everyone’s dedication and commitment. The most important aspect from a player is their discipline, respect and intelligence. It was very easy for me to coach this team as the players were able to adapt to my coaching style and tactics. The team is united and a great group of players and we will do our very best to represent Westchester Flames down in Florida next week"
U20 Men’s Head Coach Joao de Souza also proudly explains how important this is for the club as a whole. "The entire purpose of fielding in a U20 Men’s program in the club was that this age group is a transition from youth to our current Men’s U23 PDL team: a transition from youth to adult soccer.
Westchester Flames is all about player development, growth, and investing truly in the player. None more so than ever, has the U20 Men’s head coach as well as Director of Coaching for the club has he showed this philosophy. He states, "I am excited that I have brought up players from our youth program to experience this side of adult soccer which is fast paced and physical. From our U17’s team, Marco Callisto, (M), Henry Gager (D), Ian Huntoon (GK), and Spencer Irwin (D) all have had opportunities to play at least a game or two with the U20’s. They have been selected to be part of the U20’s headed to the North American Finals.
Another up and coming promising player from our youth program is Neil Williams coached by Gene Sepe from our U16 team. Coach Joao de Souza who also coaches the U17 team has brought him up to play with the U17’s and he has performed very well. Coach Joao states, "I am excited that I will be also rostering Neil to participate with the U20’s at Nationals. It is important to have an older program to always be able to provide the opportunities for players that next level and to give players that experience."
On our youth side of the Super Y-League competition, it looks promising for two teams to clinch qualifications for Super Y-League North American Finals held in December 2011. Team U12 Boys coached by Ray Anderson and Assisted by Wayne Cebollero is very strong in their group with only 4 games left to secure entry. Team U17 Boys coach by Joao de Souza is two games away from securing their berth to Finals as well. They need to come out with wins to secure entry as well.
For now, we wish the U20 Men good luck in Florida at Finals !