Arizona Claims first National Championship since 2003
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Under-14 Boys: Valparaiso United FC 02 JG (AZ) 2-0 Baltimore Darby 01/02 (MD)
A strong second-half performance helped Valparaiso United FC 02 JG (AZ) capture the Under-14 Boys National Championships with a 2-0 victory over defending champion Baltimore Darby 01/02 (MD).
Baltimore applied some early pressure and came inches from a breakthrough when Richard Nichols hit a blast from 20 yards out that hit the crossbar. The Maryland side controlled the run of play for much of the first half, but Valpo did well to deny any dangerous moments from Baltimore.
The Arizona side punched back in the second half and began to generate some offensive opportunities of its own. In the 62nd minute, Valpo took advantage of a series of corner kicks to produce a breakthrough goal. Valpo’s Hayden Noll headed a corner to the back post, where Baltimore keeper Grant Farley made a diving save. However, Paul Gindiri was in the right place and hit home the rebound to give Valpo the 1-0 advantage. Denis Conteh doubled the lead in the final minute of regulation, as he netted his third goal of the tournament — making him one of three Valpo players, along with Jarod Eaton and Paul Gindiri, to lead the team with three goals.
US Youth Soccer ODP goalkeeper Tyler Kirberg and the back line helped Valpo record the shutout, as the Arizona side claimed the National Championship.
“Working in the National League helped us bring the level up, and I think we demonstrated here that we can play,” Valpo coach Jorge Garre said. “I’m the proudest coach here. We lost one of our key players on defense just two weeks before coming here. Everyone stepped up, and I’m so proud of the boys.”
Tyler Kirberg - Golden Glove & Best XI
Denis Conteh - Golden Ball & Best XI
Jarod Eaton - Best XI