LAKE BUENA VISTA – RSL Florida’s two representatives at the Disney Soccer Showcase saw their tournaments come to an end on Tuesday, as both the boys under-16s and under-17s failed to advance out of their respective groups.
RSL’s under-16s played well from box to box in their final game, but a failure to convert scoring opportunities in the final third led to a 1-1 tie against the Michigan Jaguars. According to Coach Steve Wolf, that had been the theme for the side’s week, as they finished with two draws and a loss.
“From box to box, we dominated the games, but in the final third, in the box, we weren’t good enough to finish teams off,” Wolf said. “We didn’t have the killer instinct, the timing wasn’t there, we just couldn’t finish in the final third.”
Wolf was pleased with the way his side played overall, with Zach Higgins having a strong tournament in the center of midfield. Wolf said he thought the way Higgins thinks about the game sets him apart from a lot of players his age.
“He’s by far our most intelligent player,” Wolf said. “He almost plays like he’s in his thirties, he sees things and then he steps into situations defensively and just reads things. A very smooth player, very calm, always in control, and he’s very important for us in midfield.
RSL’s Under-17s finished an up and down tournament with a tough defeat, 6-0 to the Baltimore Bays. Coach Alex Delgado said there were just times when the team you faced was better, but he was happy with the way the side kept their heads up and kept working hard.
“Today, we were just out-matched,” Delgado said. “Sometimes it’s ok to say the other team was better than you, and they were better. We came out fighting though, we missed a couple of opportunities early, and when you have a team like the Baltimore Bays Academy team, they’re not going to let you breathe.”
Delgado was happy with the week overall, however, a win against Campton United from Illinois, currently ranked No.14 in the nation according to gotsoccer.com a highlight.
“Hopefully we gained a little respect from teams out here,” Delgado said. “We showcased ourselves well, and I think a couple of our guys caught some people’s attention out here, they did excellent. (Robert) Menke in the middle, (Kyle) Eichoff in the middle and Tevin (Gage) out wide had another amazing showcase, it was excellent.”
Hillsborough County United’s boys under-18s also fell short of advancing after a 1-0 defeat against Commack SC in its final game dropped them to third place in the group, as did HCU’s under-15s, which managed to end the tournament on a high note with a 7-4 win against the Albertson Academy from New York.
The Clearwater Chargers under-18 and under-16 teams both advanced through, each side winning its respective group. The Under-18s played to a 0-0 draw with the Forsyth Fusion, sending them through to a game against Tennessee’s FC Alliance on Wednesday afternoon.
The under-16s, playing up in the under-17 division, completed pool play with a third victory, defeating FC Solar from Texas 2-1. The Chargers will face HCU’s under-17 side, which advanced with a pair of wins and a tie, closing with a 1-1 draw against Huntsville from Alabama.