Thursday, November 19, 2009

Youth: Experience crucial for HCU under-16s at Super-Y

Hillsborough County United's boys under-16s will try for a third time to win a United Soccer League Super-Y North American Finals title when they open play Friday at the Land O' Lakes Recreation Center against the Coastal WFC from Vancouver, Canada.

HCU was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals last season, and had reached the final as an under-13 squad. HCU coach Eric Sims is hoping experience will pay off for his side.

"These guys have been in this tournament before, have experienced playing in matches like this, so you would think that experience would help them," Sims said. "I've seen them mature, definitely, especially from a work-rate standpoint, they just see the value of working hard and playing as hard as they can while they're playing. I think with them being in the tournament in years past, and getting to extended play, will hopefully give them experience to do well this year."

HCU is led going forward by Nick Patterson and Kofi Forkuoh, who combined to score 19 of the side's 39 goals during the Southeast Division season. The side is also strong defensively, with goalkeeper John Nardozzi and defenders Josh Santos and Charlie Delmar. The most important thing, though, is going to be getting off to a good start in the opening game against a Coastal team that dominated its division, winning 11 of 12 games, while only allowing six goals.

"You definitely want to start off by getting three points," Sims said. "If you don't do that, only getting a point or getting no points in the first game, you put yourself in a big hole where you don't control your own destiny. If you come in and get three points in that opening game, it's a good start, and it's a good confidence booster, but you also control what your team does."

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