Congratulations to Waza FC East Boys 97 Juniors for taking 1st place at the Disney Soccer Showcase. The Boys battled in the Florida sun and heat to go 2-1 in the qualifying round which put them into the championship game against the Pachuca FC Dragons, the 34th ranked team in the nation. The first half saw Waza score two beautiful goals to go into halftime with a 2-0 lead. But the Pachuca Dragons were not going to go down easily, scoring two quick goals early in the second half to even the match. Waza regrouped and doubled down their determination with solid defense and several good scoring opportunities that were brilliantly stopped by the Pachuca goalkeeper or just missing the net. As the whistle blew at the end of regulation time, both teams knew it would be a battle for the two 5 minute overtime periods. These drew to a close with the score still 2-2 and it would take Penalty Kicks to decide this match. Waza had stopped a PK awarded to Pachuka in regulation and this would weigh heavily in their minds as their first three shooters were stopped. The 4th Pachuka shooter made his shot, but Waza only needed to put 1 ball in the back of the net to claim victory. Waza’s 4th shooter results…. GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL
WAZA FC East made the Super Y League Finals with a 7-0-1 record during league play this summer, competing in the U-12 age group. WAZA posted 6 shutouts and conceded only 3 goals while scoring 21 goals. Hard work and dedication from the girls and Coach Ludwig paid off as they entered the Finals held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
WAZA drew their first match against Atlanta Fire United, the only other undefeated team. WAZA’s strong defense was able to keep Atlanta at bay with the midfielders help, who were quick to the ball. This allowed WAZA’s offense to take advantage by getting a strong shot off and the lone goal in the game, resulting in the 1-0 win.
Next up, the Long Island Rough Riders proved to be a solid defensive team, keeping WAZA off the scoreboard. However, WAZA demonstrated they were just as tough, posting a clean sheet for the 2nd game in a row, resulting in a 0-0 tie.
VA Alliance was next, and they were unable to control WAZA’s dominating pressure conceding 5 goals in the first half. VA Alliance came back strong in the 2nd half, but WAZA’s tenacious play was too much, leading to a 5-0 victory.
Orlando City SC was the next exceptional competitor, and although WAZA’s offense put pressure on Orlando, some amazing saves by their keeper kept Orlando on WAZA’s heels. A well placed corner kick and beautiful finish put WAZA on the board. With Orlando pushing forward, WAZA’s defense worked hard to get the ball to the midfield who took advantage of the opportunity and gave WAZA a 2nd goal. The game ended with a 2-0 victory.
Speaking volumes about Michigan’s youth travel soccer, the Championship game came against Michigan’s Grand Rapid’s Crew. WAZA got on the board only three minutes into the game with another phenomenal corner kick that resulted in a well-placed header. Less than 10 minutes later WAZA’s midfield capitalized on yet another scoring opportunity. Grand Rapids came out determined in the 2nd half and were able to keep WAZA from a clean sheet for the tournament, scoring in the final minute of play. The game ended with a 2-1 victory. WAZA FC East became the first WAZA girls team to win a Super Y League National Championship! Thank you to Coach Ludwig and Congratulations on a great team effort.
WAZA FC East 01 Juniors (MI) wins the Under-13 Boys National Championship
WAZA FC East 01 Juniors (MI) came into this final having not lost a game all the way back through US Youth Soccer Region II Championships and that momentum carried them through to Under-13 Boys National Championship match against FC Golden State PDA 01 (CA-S).
WAZA had been perfect in group stage scoring three goals and allowing none, setting up a chance to finish at the National Championships without a blemish on its record. Having already beat FC Golden State in group play 2-0, WAZA seemed confident from the get-go controlling possession and playing at a higher tempo than its opposition.
In just the 17th minute of play, Issa Rayyan broke through the Golden State defense and flicked a ball past an onrushing keeper to give WAZA a 1-0 advantage. WAZA continued knocking on the door hitting the post twice and missing a variety of other chances that could have increased its lead.
Late in the first half WAZA had another chance as Gianni Ferri stripped the ball away from a defender and got in on goal. Ferri’s chance was wasted as his shot hit the outside of the post and harmlessly bounced away.
Despite the pressure, Golden State withstood the WAZA onslaught for the rest of the second half and entered half trailing only by one goal.
Ferri added an insurance goal just six minutes into the second half as he received a through ball in 1v1 vs the Golden State keeper Alfredo Tejeda. Tejeda made a huge save but the ball bounce back to Ferri and he calmly put the ball into the back of the net to make the score 2-0.
Golden State tried to push for a goal but the WAZA defense was relentless at getting to every loose ball first as their offensive teammates controlled possession. WAZA would hold on and claim the Under-13 Boys National Championship with a 2-0 win.
“We have worked so hard all year,” said WAZA head coach Gronthik Chatterjee. “They are a very talented group of boys but it comes down to their hard work. They put in so many hours and they have great intelligence that was displayed on the field tonight.”
“The hard work we put in, all the hours away from the game type situations where no one sees you in the gym, the extra practices and the effort put in by the parents to get them there has been great. To have this pay off with a National Championship, I couldn’t be happier for my boys.”