REDMOND — The Wenatchee FC took three teams to the Crossfire Collegiate Showcase at 60 Acres in Redmond this past weekend. It is a showcase for college coaches featuring some of the best teams from around the west.
The most successful of the Wenatchee FC teams was the GO2 girls who played in the Women’s U18 Gold Group. In their first game last Friday, they beat the Utah Avalanche 2-1. The second game on Saturday saw them beat Washington Premiere FC 4-1. In the third game on Sunday, they won 3-2 over Blackhills FC.
In the semifinals on Monday, they beat Washington Rush 2-0. In the finals Monday, they beat PacNW 4-0 to claim the championship.
“We won all five games, which was awesome. We beat a team from Utah that was a very good outfit. It was an awesome weekend for those girls. We had girls from Leavenworth, Wenatchee, and Cashmere. They put on a great performance,” said Wenatchee FC G02 Head Coach Neil Oyston.
He said the girls played a lot of good soccer, moving the ball around really well. Oyston felt they definitely deserved to win the whole thing. A couple of girls were given advice from the college coaches looking on.
It was a great accomplishment considering the level of competition.
“We are a small town in eastern Washington. Being able to compete against the level of competition is a testament to the girls. Managing the girls through five games, you have to manage their fitness levels against some really good competition. It’s a tremendous achievement,” Oyston said.
The Crossfire Collegiate Showcase is the most elite tournament in the state, he said.
“It attracts top tier teams throughout Washington state. It attracts a lot of division one, two and three college coaches, who come to the weekend to watch teams and players play their games,” Oyston said.
Oyston also coached the Wenatchee FC B05 team, which played in the Boys U15 Gold Group. They finished second in the tournament.
In the first game, they beat Seattle United Tango 3-1 last Friday. In the second game, they topped the Issaquah Gunners 1-0 last Saturday. On Sunday, they blanked the WA Timbers 3-0.
In the semifinals on Monday, they won 2-1 over FC Salmon Creek. In the finals Monday, the Wenatchee FC boys lost 5-1 to CMF SC.
“I think we just ran out of steam a bit in the final. Five games is a lot for anybody to play at such a high level. Unfortunately, we came up short in the finals,” Oyston said. “That was the B05 first time in the Crossfire tournament. Just getting to final against a really good team, they should be proud of themselves.”
Oyston said it was a good experience for the B05 team. He saw them rise the level of play. Next up for the B05 team is the National Premier League season, which starts at the end of August. The girls on the GO2 team will be going back to school in August to play with their high school teams.
The Wenatchee FC B03 team finished second in the U17 Gold Group.
“It was fantastic. It is definitely the toughest in the Pacific Northwest. Between our teams, we played against teams from California, Montana, and Oregon. There is just not a local tournament like that,” Wenatchee FC B03 Head Coach Anton McCourtie.
Their first game last Friday saw the boys beat the Missoula Strikers Red 3-2. On Saturday, the Wenatchee FC team blanked the THU SC Beryllim Black 3-0. The B03 boys beat Seattle United Nova 1-0 on Sunday.
In the semifinals on Monday, they downed their arch-rivals, the Issaquah Gunners FC 4-2. In the finals Monday, they lost 4-0 to the San Juan FC Lightning Blue.
“We got to the finals, beating one of the top teams from Missoula, Montana. In the second game, we played one of Oregon’s top teams. The third game was against the Issaquah Gunners, which are our nemesis. That game will go either way,” McCourtie said. “They are one of our rivals in the league. It’s always us or them who wins the league. It’s been that way since they were nine years old. They really enjoy playing against each other.”
McCourtie said the biggest learning experience was in the finals against the San Juan team, one of the top teams in the country. By the way, San Juan is located by Sacramento, California.
“We were well beaten. That is when they learn. They have to set a new goal. They achieved a goal winning a game against Issaquah by beating them very well. They haven’t played against a team that can move the ball that fast and that decisively,” McCourtie said. “Afterwards, we sat down and said let’s look at the game video together and see what we need to do to play like that.”
McCourtie definitely feels his team can play at that higher level.
“Wenatchee is a small city. Sacramento is not. They’ve shown by getting three teams into the finals, even though we are a small area, we can do it. Between ourselves as coaches, we need to push ourselves harder,” McCourtie said.
There were at least two college coaches at every game, who will come talk to the coaches and ask questions about the players. He feels the tournament is a favorite among the parents.
“There are no bad teams. Every game is difficult. Even when you come out of the final well beaten, the parents enjoy that. It’s not always about winning,” McCourtie said. “The next thing to prepare for is the National Premier League which begins on Aug. 18. The winner of that goes to Nationals, where they went last year. It’s about going back and trying to improve upon that semifinal placing in that competition.”