Sunday, December 13, 2009

Youth: HCU, Strictly perform well at Raleigh Boys Showcase

Hillsborough County United’s boys under-17 team earned three wins in three games at the Raleigh Boys Showcase Soccer Series, while Strictly Soccer (2-0-1) and RSL Florida (1-1-1) also performed well at the showcase event.

The event, which is a major one for college recruiting with 28 divisions alone in the boys under-17 division, was disrupted on Sunday due to bad weather with some games being shortened in length. That didn’t appear to affect HCU, and Coach Eric Sims said while he thought the team struggled defensively at times in their opening game, a 3-2 win against North Meck Soccer Club from North Carolina, he was pleased with the was the team settled down and played in its final two games. He was happier, though, that his player’s performances had put them on the radar of a number of major college programs.

“We played very well at times,” Sims said. “Some players definitely stood out, and we were able to get them the exposure that they needed. That was really the point of coming, winning the three games was a bonus, but really we wanted to get the players exposure and I think they did that.”

Strictly Soccer earned a pair of victories, 4-2 against the Richmond (Va.) Strikers and 1-0 against the Albion (Tx.) Hurricanes, before a 0-0 tie against Central Jackson (Miss.) in its final game. Coach Hans Burt said the three games offered three very different types of opponent, something he thought would help better his side.

“It was a good weekend,” Burt said. “We scored four the first game, played wide open, the second game we struggled, played a lot of defense but executed a free kick for a goal, and then today’s game was very physical, so a little bit of everything.”

While the Under-17 event was purely a three-game showcase for each competing team, Strictly’s under-16s took victory in the Premier Questra Division, a 1-0 victory against Alpharetta on a goal by Thomas White giving Strictly the title.

The side was missing Tarik Salkicic, who had competed for the U.S. Under-17 team at the Nike friendlies in Phoenix last weekend, but Burt said he was very pleased with how the team had learned to play without their standout midfielder.

“They’ve played about 12 games without him,” Burt said. “Through the summer he had some issued with injuries, and regional stuff, and we’ve done well in good competition, but to come up here without Tarik and play national-level competition, and play the way we played was just phenomenal.”

RSL Florida's under-17s opened with a 1-0 win against Great Falls (Va.) before earning a 1-1 tie against the Augusta (Ga.) Arsenal and a final day defeat to the Potomac Cougars.

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