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Marysville hosts soccer fete
MARYSVILLE Ninety teams from around the state descended upon Marysville for lots of soccer and the chance to be named champions of the Marysville Strawberry Classic.
The three-day soccer event, Aug. 3-5 saw teams travel from as far as Yakima and Spokane to play at the Marysville Youth Soccer Club fields, according to tournament organizer Corey Elwell.
The more far-flung teams could be recognized by the team RVs parked at the soccer fields. Between games, players retired to the limited shade their campers provided and dissected their games over food.
The Marysville area fielded about 20 teams, Elwell estimated. Teams ran the gamut of age and experience. Though the city of Marysvilles youth soccer program ended the first week of June, a handful of teams from that recreational league showed up to play. More teams came from area select leagues.
Elwell explained that when the tournament began 13 years ago, it was planned as a tournament primarily for recreational teams like the Marysville Blue Angels team that joined out of the citys youth league. Then, about 45 to 50 teams competed.
This year, 90 teams took the field, and Elwell estimated about 90 percent of the teams were from the select leagues. Players ranged in age from 10 to 18.
With the addition of select teams to the tournament brackets, Elwell said tournament organizers try to keep games fair by creating separate brackets for the more serious select teams and the more laid-back recreational teams.
We try to segregate them when numbers allow, Elwell said, adding that while rec teams can choose to play up, we dont want to throw them to the wolves.
The soccer tournament benefited the Marysville Youth Soccer Club, which Elwell said has helped instruct many of Marysvilles finest players.
A lot of the kids that are playing at the high school have come through Marysville soccer, Elwell said. Almost every kid on the team in the last two years played.
He added that playing soccer helps build better citizens by teaching values like sportsmanship and winning and losing gracefully.
Blue Angels vs. Spirit
The Marysville Blue Angels took on the Spirit in their third tournament game Aug. 4 in U14 recreational competition.
The Blue Angels, who played in the citys summer program, struggled early in the game. With two losses the day before, the teams confidence seemed a little shaken.
Their opponents took advantage of the Angels uncertainty, scoring several goals within the first 15 minutes. But about midway into the half, the Blue Angels started fighting for kicks and playing more assertive defense.
The mental shift paid off when striker Alissa Belam scored a first-half goal.
The Blue Angels went into halftime with a three-goal deficit and the Spirit came out aggressively on offense, scoring early in the second half for a 5-1 lead.
Although the Blue Angels were unable to catch up to their opponents, they played with spirit, anchored by goalkeeper Liz Paglia, who had a number of blocks in the goal.
Not long after the Spirit scored their sixth and final goal, Holly Hudson scored another goal for the Angels to give them the 6-2 final.
Blue Angels coach Tim Higgins praised his players for their improvement throughout the game.
They played a lot better in the second half. We got them up to speed again with the tournament, he said.
Higgins added that the girls hesitance in the first half proved costly.
The first five to 10 minutes of the game, they were afraid to go after the ball, he said.
But once the team came alive, contributions came from around the field.
In addition to Belam and Hudson, who provided the Blue Angels goals, Higgins singled out a midfielder and his goalkeeper.
Devonie Kushner her whole tournament, shes really stepping up, Higgins said.
Liz played outstanding back there. Its her second year as a goalie and shes really stepping up, telling other players where to go on the field, he added of Paglia.
Pacific Premier vs.
Snohomish United Rebels
Pacific Premier played to a 0-0 tie in their first tournament game when they met the Snohomish United Rebels on the field Aug. 3.
And when the teams played a rematch in the boys U18 championship game Aug. 5, it appeared the result would be much the same as the first game.
Neither team had many attempts on goal in the first half. Premier forward Clayton Smith had some of his teams best shots, but all missed, including a late first-half attempt to head the ball in.
But luck seemed to be with Pacific. For almost every Rebel attempt to score, there was a remarkable defensive play or circumstance preventing the goal.
Pacific tried to capitalize on their luck in the second half, starting the period with aggressive offensive play. David Burelo and a teammate both took shots at the Rebel goal as the team applied pressure to the Snohomish goalkeeper. Another drive on the goal forced the Rebel keeper to fall on the ball for a save.
But gradually, Snohomish took control of the ball again in the second half.
With about eight minutes left in the game, Snohomish put together an offensive drive.
The Premier keeper barked to his defense to fall back toward the goal, but the Snohomish offense moved quicker, forcing Pacific Premier out of the goal to block a kick.
The Rebels scored on the rebound.
Pacific redoubled their efforts, attempting to tie up the game in the closing minutes. The pressure on the home team increased, boiling over in the case of Burelo, who was yellow-carded late in the game.
But the Rebels missed on their free kick and the game ended in their favor, 1-0.
Premier coach Joel Helm said his team was destined to meet the Rebels in the U18 final.
Were a weird bracket there were only two U18 teams, he said.
For Helms team, the tournament has been a learning and bonding experience. Where select teams are often composed of the same players year after year, Helms team was organized in March and their fourth tournament game was their eighth game together as a team.
Helm attributed the Rebels goal to a mental mistake on defense.
We just had a moment where we stopped playing and expected the keeper to get the ball, he said. The other team hustled and got the goal.
But, he said, the team showed a lot of improvement through the tournament.
It was a great weekend, said Helm, who helped organize the officials for the tournament. He added with a laugh, Warm, great refereeing.