FRISCO, Texas (March 3, 2023) - During the second weekend of the Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Showcase, the Olympic Development Program’s (ODP) Girls National Select Teams faced several talented opponents in their quests to be crowned champions.
Looking to capitalize on the success that the Boys National Select Teams had the week prior, the 2009 and 2010 Girls took the challenge of going up against the competition’s loaded field head on and shined.
The National Select Team’s run through the U15 2008 Chapman Auto Group -- while playing up a year -- left no doubt that they were ready for the moment. From the very first whistle, the 2009s played with an apparent desire to be the last team standing.
Three group stage wins in two days against Heat FC ECNL G08 (2-0), Elite Development Academy G08 (7-0), and Steel United NJ National Team 2008 (4-0) were the start of a special run in Sin City. The National Select Team finished the group stage undefeated, holding its opponents scoreless in the process with Maddie Maves (WA) anchoring the back line and Charleston Caruso (MD) and Natalie Gram (WA) in between the sticks. Rhea Moore (CA-N), Alexa Heredia-Beltran (KS), Jacy Hackler (KS), Delia Loughnane (MA), Adley Accetta (TX-S), and Citlalli Reyes (NV) all found the back of the net during that stretch of games. Hackler continued a run of spectacular form after winning a US Youth Soccer National Championship with KC Legends Academy Red 2009 (KS) last July and receiving USYS’ 2022 Goal of the Year Award.
The National Select Team continued its strong display in its first knockout stage match, a quarterfinal matchup against Las Vegas Sports Academy 08 GA. The 2009s, led by braces from Moore, Heredia-Beltran, Accetta, and Kylie Larrahona (FL), showed no signs of wilting under the pressure of a win or go home matchup while moving on to the next round of play with a 9-0 win.
Sunday morning’s semifinal affair against Oregon’s Westside Metros FC Copa 08G was all business for the National Select Team, with eyes set on reaching the Mayor’s Cup finale. Loughnane, Accetta, and Hackler continued their imposing play with each scoring, while Annabelle Rudden (CO) added her first goal of the event to cement a 4-0 victory. The 2009s played with a visible urgency to reach the title game and did just that, setting up a showdown with St. Croix 08 Academy 1.
Vying for the Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup crown, the 2009s stayed true to what got them to the final day and remained the aggressor, with Hackler, Larrahona, and Moore finding the back of the net again. Led by a defense that did not allow a goal throughout the competition and an offense that seemingly became more clinical each day, the National Select Team defeated St. Croix 08 Academy 3-0 and earned the storied trophy.
The 2010 Girls National Select Team’s showing at Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup may have ended just shy of their ultimate goal, but a trip to the championship match was something to be proud of in its own right.
The 2010s’ stifling defense, led by goalkeepers Audrey Stine (AZ) and Paige Stanoch (IN), combined with a potent offense, propelled their advancement out of the two-game group stage. Wins over Las Vegas Sports Academy 09 GA (7-0) and De Anza Force SC 09G ECNL (4-1) were momentum builders for the National Select Team, with seven goal scorers opening their tallies. Julia Dern (CO), Margaux Henning (IN), Payton Galuski (NY-E), Riley Rountree (WA), Kahali’a Huddleston (HI), Kylen Clack (NC), and Lynn Byun (CA-N) each found the back of the net, while the back line remained nearly impenetrable.
In its semifinal match against Nevada Rush 2009 Select on Sunday morning, the National Select Team’s resolve was on full display. In an evenly matched game, Dern’s game winner was the difference between the two sides, with the 2010s’ unbreakable defense surfacing again to see the match out and claim a shutout.
With the win over Nevada Rush, the National Select Team advanced to the final match against Las Vegas Surf Soccer Club Elite 64 09G just a few hours later. The 2010s had their hands full with a competitive and physical side but refused to back down. This championship match ultimately came down to penalty kicks with the two sides unable to separate themselves in regulation and extra time. The National Select Team fell just short, but its special run was worth celebrating all the same.
“It was an extremely rewarding moment to watch these two groups of players come together and work as teams,” said Senior Manager of ODP Aaron Heffernan. “We want to credit the players, their families, the State Associations, and their staff for all of the hard work that they put in to make this a successful week. They represented the Olympic Development Program and its history so well. This is a great starting point in the players’ careers, and we look forward to seeing what this beautiful game has in store for them.”
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer)
US Youth Soccer
, the largest youth sport organization in the country, is on a mission to provide world-class support, resources, and leadership, helping every member fulfill their goals on and off the field of play. US Youth Soccer registers nearly 2.5 million players annually. Through its programming, resources and leadership, US Youth Soccer is advancing the game for its 54 Member State Associations, 10,000 clubs and leagues and one million administrators, coaches, and volunteers. US Youth Soccer connects families and communities to the power of sports and its shared love of soccer. US Youth Soccer provides a path for every player, coach and referee offering programs that provide a fun, safe and healthy environment at every level of the game.