Clay County Soccer U19 SOL Women crowned USYS National Champions!
The Clay County Soccer Club (CCSC) U19 SOL women's soccer team became the first soccer team from North Florida to ever be crowned as USYS National Champions. They are also the first women's team from Florida in 17 years to win the national crown.
The USYS National Championship Series is the oldest and most prestigious soccer tournament in the United States with the first competition dating back to 1935. Every year over 10,000 teams from all 50 states start out in their quest for the National Title with the first step being the State Cup championship.
The CCSC team won the Florida State Cup back in early May and earned the right to represent Florida at the Southern Regional Championships in June where they went 4-0 to win the Regional title and move on to the National final 4. The Nationals were held last week in Rock Hills,South Carolina near Charlotte where the CCSC team would play the champions of the other three regions in a preliminary round robin. With a tie and a loss in the first two games it came down to a must win versus long time rival Southern California Blues to get in to the championship game. The game was close but the Clay County team would find the net two times and held on to win 2-1.
The final would be against the Scorpion Soccer Club from Massachusetts and it would look to be a hard fought 1-1 tie after 90 minutes and two 15 minute overtimes. The Championship would ultimately be decided in penalty kicks and It would go to the 8th penalty kick by Gabby Ragazzo and a great save by CCSC goal keeper Kylie Wilson before Clay County could claim the national title.
"It is a storybook finish to an amazing run by an amazing group of girls" said Head Coach Luis Torres. "It was the very first thing I told many of these girls when I started coaching them back when they were only 12 years old. It was at our very first scrimmage that I told them that I believed in each and every one of them and that if they worked extremely hard they could someday win a National Championship. Little did I know that it would be a 7 year wait and that it would come down to the very last kick of the very last game they could possibly play together.
"Winning a USYS National Championship is perhaps one of he hardest things in youth sports to accomplish, and these girls really earned it. They played with so much heart, and so much commitment. It went way beyond wanting something, it was more like a deep rooted need to fulfill something they hadn't yet fulfilled. I can't tell you how proud I am of these girls."