There wasn’t a whole lot of festive relaxation for a many of the area’s players who traveled to Orlando, Fla. for the prestigious Chelsea FC sponsored Disney Soccer Showcase.
And they put up some fine performances too, with a number just missing out on fairytale endings.
The Showcase for boys’ and girls’ teams ranging from U15 to U19 is now considered one of the biggest stages for youth soccer in the U.S. and attracts numerous college coaches, including representatives from Louisville, Indiana, UK, Notre Dame, Evansville, Butler and NCAA Division II champs, Northern Kentucky.
The four days of boys’ competition from December 27-30 featured games between region ODP teams, top academy clubs (including Chelsea) and the best travel soccer outfits in the nation and Canada – that’s 294 teams in total.
Among those to shine was Javanon ’94, featuring Jordan Vejar (Jeffersonville), Matt Kelecy (Floyd Central) and Nick Blackwell (New Albany). The team earned a runner-up in the top U17 Showcase Division.
In its first game, it defeated New Mexico Rush Nike Argonauts 4-1 (ranked 9th nationally by gotsoccer.com), then tied last year’s national runner-up RSL Florida 0-0, before beating Carolina Elite SA ’93 4-1 to clinch the bracket and earn a spot in the
championship decider against Florida Rush Nike.
Despite the absence of valuable players such as star striker John Manga and Lindo Mfeka, the team put in a creditable performance, only to lose 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie in regulation.
The team is next scheduled to attend the FC Alliance Tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee later this month.
Meanwhile, in the Predator Division, United 1996 — featuring Providence’s Brett Bass and Gabe Stewart from the Henryville area — also made the championship game but lost 3-2 to HYS Verndon of Virginia, ranked 26th in the nation.
In its group games, United beat CAP FC United of Canada 1-0 and lost to Massapequa SC Rough Riders of New York 2-0, before bouncing back to win the bracket with a 1-0 victory over Texans of Houston.
This past weekend, the girls took center stage with 268 teams from the United States and Canada competing.
Javanon ’95, featuring Providence’s Leah Mattingly and Floyd Central’s Kady O’Farrell, were in action in the U16 Predator Division. The girls narrowly lost its first game 1-0 against Carmel United of Indiana, but bounced back to beat SJ Elite Barons Force of New Jersey 2-0, before finishing the tournament out with a scoreless tie against bracket winner Eclipse of Texas.
In the girls’ U17 Copa Division, Mockingbird Valley ’94 — featuring Floyd Central’s Taylor Patty, Lauren Haley and Rebekah Burgan, as well as Providence’s record goalscorer Casey Marlin – tied with Canada’s Newmarket United (2-2) and Patriots of New York (1-1), while losing to Lakeland FC of Florida.
Next up for the four girls are spring tournaments at Ohio Elite (February 25-27) and Richmond, Va. (Jefferson Cup, March 18-20).