Four southern Indiana players can help punch their team’s ticket to the US Youth Soccer Midwest Region tournament in Ohio without having to win State.
Nick Blackwell, Matt Kelecy, Daniel Wilburn and Jordan Vejar have been in great form with Javanon ’94 in the prestigious Midwest Regional League.
All four see plenty of playing time with three of them typically starting on defense (Blackwell, Kelecy, and Vejar), while Wilburn is usually deployed as an outside midfielder/forward.
Blackwell, who won a regional championship with New Albany High School in the fall, has taken over as the team’s central defender.
Vejar, who plays at Jeffersonville HS, and Kelecy, at Floyd Central, are two of the area’s top high school scorers are finding their niche on this team on defense as outside fullbacks.
Wilburn, of Providence, is somewhat of a utility player, able to fill many roles depending on what the game conditions necessitate. Usually, he’s used at either midfield or forward, where the team can utilize his speed and aggressiveness to generate offense.
With all four going to different schools, you’d expect some rivalry between the players, but we are told they are good buddies on and off the field, trusting each other in practices and games.
The MRL provides the highest standard of competitive play for youth teams in the Midwest region in five age groups from U14 to U18.
Javanon ’94 has played six of its scheduled seven games – winning four against Michigan Jaguars (3-2), Michigan Vardar (3-0), Galaxy 93/94 Blue of Illinois (3-0) and Minnesota Thunder (2-1).
Its losses have come against Chicago Fire Juniors Development Academy (1-0) and Lou Fusz Gold of Missouri in Evansville on Sunday (2-1).
However, victory against Blast FC of Ohio in Cincinnati on May 22 would see them clinch the U16 Premier Division Red title.
That would give Javanon an automatic berth to the Midwest (Region II) Championships from June 26-30, where they would join champions from 14 state associations, including Indiana and Kentucky.
If the boys miss out on the Midwest title, coach Derek Willis’s charges still fancy their chances of winning the Kentucky State Open Cup.
Preliminary rounds of the competition, which features a number of other local players, begins in Lexington on May 28, with the finals being held in Bowling Green on June 5 and 6.