US Club National Cup
Three Mariners team traveled last week as Maine State Champions to Aurora Colorado to take part in the US Club 

National Cup.The U17 boys & girls teams and the U13 boys team took to the fields under the snowcapped Rocky Mountains in 98 degree weather and each did the club proud.

 

Because of unavailability and injuries the U17 girls coached by girls’ director Andrew Pelletier ended with just 13 traveling players and then found themselves at 12 after another setback right before the tournament began. In each game they were extremely competitive till the latter stages when the cumulative effects of the heat took their toll. The girls showed they absolutely belonged on that stage and the 13 girls in attendance were heroic.

 

The U13 boys were coming off an extremely successful season in which they won two tournaments, the State Championship and the New England Premiership 1 title.  However, this was a step up in class and the youngsters were a little nervous in their opening game against Union Sacramento FC, California. After a slow start, they were always playing catch up, eventually suffered defeat but only after a brilliant penalty kick save from the opposing keeper denied them a deserved equalizer.  They settled down after that game however and played very creditably, scoring two goals in each game and finishing off with an excellent 2-1 victory over Eastside FC from Seattle, Washington.

 

 

 

Doubtless however, it was the U17 Boys "Blue" team who were the stars of the show!!

 

Despite technically being only the second best team in the Mariners organization at one point of the season, they proved to be the epitome of team work and togetherness. The bond they forged together -through the New England Premiership, major showcase tournaments in NYC and Maryland and then in a four day span when the won both the NEP final four and the Maine State Championship - proved to be unbreakable and unshakeable!!!

 

They arrived in Colorado brimming with confidence and self-belief and those flames were only fanned further by the enthusiasm of head coach Paul Cameron

 

The team was actually held to a hard fought 1-1 tie in their opening game by a strong, fast and physical Shadow FC team from New York East. Indeed, only a stunning save by 6' 5" keeper Jake Lapierre (Winslow HS) kept the deadlock intact after Chase Pierce (Thornton Academy HS) had tied up the game in the 37th minute.  In essence however Coaches Cameron and Keen had always preached the importance of not losing the first game and that tie proved to be both the perfect wakeup call and the catalyst to bringing out the best in the boys.

 

Game two against Eastern FC Rush (Illinois) bore witness to a stunning individual display (as well as an excellent all around great team performance) from Tyler Welch of Bangor Christian HS. Tyler scored four of the five goals and assisted on the other (again scored by Chase Pierce) in what was a truly memorable display.

 

This meant that a win against TIFC Boys 98's (Seattle, Washington) would likely be enough to see them top their group and advance to the championship game. At halftime the teams were deadlocked at 0-0 and the tension was palpable, even though the Mariners team had started to control the play late in the half.  Early second half goals by Tyler Welch and Sam Wilkinson (Maranacook HS) raised spirits and calmed the nerves, but TIFC then scored from the spot to put any nail biters back on high alert.  With 15 minutes remaining, Peter Mayhorn (Waterville HS) restored the two goal lead and when Chase Pierce scored a late penalty kick, the party was on and preparations could begin for a National Championship showdown with Connecticut Football Club.

 

Monday at 9:00 on field 22 in Aurora Sports Park was the time and place  for the showdown and all 18 players (Tyler Richman Gorham HS sadly injured in game 2), the three coaches and all the traveling parents and spectators were ready with a steely resolve to face head on, their biggest challenge to date.

 

The temperature was 95 degrees as the whistle sounded yet the game began at a furious pace as both teams tried to assert themselves.  It was the Mariners who grabbed the initiative around fifteen minutes in on a strange goal from Sam Wilkinson. He took an in swinging corner from the right side and somehow the swerve eluded the keeper and the ball ended up in the net.  Any comfort however quickly dissipated when CFC tied the game on a wonder strike from 30 plus yards that gave starting keeper Nick Buckley (Falmouth HS) zero chance to make the save.  After that, play was even through the half time whistle and during the break the players were very much on edge as both teams clearly sensed the next goal could lead to a national title.

 

Less than 90 seconds into the second half, Jackson Fotter (Gorham HS) hit a ferocious shot from distance that dipped and knuckled it's way past the bemused CFC keeper and under the crossbar to put the Mariners up 2-1.   Just fifteen minutes later Tyler Welch scored his 6th goal of the championship with another memorable effort and with a two goal cushion and only twenty minutes to play, the Mariners players, staff and fans could be excused for watching the seconds tick away and dreaming of taking home the title.

 

But nothing worth winning comes easily and CFC, well aware of the urgency, began to throw caution to the wind and attack at every opportunity. With eight minutes remaining another monstrous long throw was launched into the Maine penalty area and this time, instead of being gobbled up by Jake Lapierre it was headed home from just under the crossbar to make the score Mariners 3 CFC 2.

 

Beautiful nails were then chewed away and the normally mild mannered coach Paul Cameron was pacing his 

technical area like a caged tiger as CFC threw the kitchen sink at the Mariners net in an attempt to force overtime.  However it was not to be and eventually the referee sounded the three whistles that signified the end of the game to send the Maine contingent into raptures and unleash scenes of pure unadulterated joy among players, coaches and fans alike.  Seacoast had at last won it's first ever boys championship in what six months earlier, would have seemed the most unimaginable way possible.

 

What a team and what a season. Never to be forgotten!!!

 

Full list of players and coaches

Head Coach: Paul Cameron       Assistant Coaches: Martyn Keen, Jim Hopkins 

Name                                           Position              Town                   High School

Nick Buckley

0

Keeper

Falmouth

Falmouth HS

Jake Lapierre

1

Keeper

Winslow

Winslow HS

Henry Coolidge

5

Midfield

Yarmouth

Yarmouth HS

Jackson Fotter

7

Midfield

Gorham

Gorham HS

Alex Frank

8

Defense

Portland

Portland HS

Noah Niles

16

Midfield

Saco

Thorton Academy

Tyler Richman

19

Midfield

Gorham

Gorham HS

Greyson Cohen

25

Defense

Falmouth

Falmouth HS

Matt Dostie

26

D/Mid

Yarmouth

Yarmouth HS

Ryan Firmin

27

Midfield

Gorham

Gorham HS

Robert Inniss

29

Defense

Windham

Windham HS

Michael Lydick

30

Defense

Falmouth

Falmouth HS

Chase Pierce

35

Midfield

Saco

Thorton Academy

Sam Wilkinson

37

Forward

Windsor

Maranacook HS

Tyler Welch

38

Forward

Hamden

Bangor Christian HS

Garth Berenyi

39

Midfield

Bangor

Home Schooled, plays HS soccer at Bangor

Peter Mayhorn

40

Forward

Waterville

Waterville HS

Jonata Mbongo

41

Defense

Portland

Deering HS

 


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