U19/U20 Boys Claim 2017 National Championship!

Challenger Crew Jrs Gold 98 (OH-N) defeated West Coast Haney (CA-S) 4-0 to claim the 19/20U James P. McGuire Cup. West Coach started off strong, creating chances but not able to claim an advantage on the scoreboard. Challenger started to settle in and had a great chance as Vincent Worner got around the edge and hit the ball across, but the tough angled shot was saved by West Coast’s keeper. Challenger continued to pressure and had its best chance of the first half saved off the line by West Coast defender Brett Haney. Crew’s Hayden Parente ripped a shot and forced a great fingertip save onto the crossbar by West Coast’s Jacob Huber.

West Coast went down to 10 men and Challenger continued to push, finally breaking the deadlock on a penalty kick. Chris Brennan stepped up and finished his chance to give his team a 1-0 lead. Brennan doubled the advantage just three minutes later, receiving a long ball off his shoulder then took another touch to set him up for his shot and buried his chance.

A one-man advantage turned into two, and Challenger didn’t look back. Hayden Parente scored in the 67th minute, making a back post run and finishing his chance and then again in the 83rd finishing a spilled rebound.

With the win, Challenger Crew Jrs Gold 98 claimed the 19/20 National Championship title and will have its name etched on the oldest trophy in youth sports, the James P. McGuire Cup. To win a National title has always been a long term goal for this team, and they achieved it in its last year together.

“This team has been together since they were about nine or ten and guys come and go, but our core group has always stuck together,” said Challenger Crew head coach Oliver Condell. “This has been years in the making and it’s hard to put the feeling after that final whistle into words. If you’re in youth soccer, this is what you work for—to be at the pinnacle of youth soccer.”

The National Champions emerged on top in the tournament, which featured US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the 13U through 19/20U Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the 15U through 19/20U Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 teams.