A West Virginia Team has accomplished something no other team in the state has been able to do for nearly 30 years by making it to the title game of the 2017 US Youth Soccer Region 1 Championships.
Fury Athletica, a U16 Girls team based out of Morgantown, was looking to become the first team from West Virginia to make it to Nationals but got stopped short of the finish line after a 4-0 defeat to Greater Binghamton FC from New York West on Tuesday, July 4 in Spotsylvania, Pa.
However returning home as Regional Silver Medalists is no easy feat when you consider the tournament is considered country’s most prestigious national youth soccer tournament, providing approximately 185,000 players on more than 10,000 teams from US Youth Soccer State Associations the opportunity to showcase their soccer skills.
It is a claim three Grafton High School players can now make. Rising juniors Maggie Dickey and Morgan Griffith as well as rising sophomore Jacinda Devart are all members of this history-making team. Dickey and Griffith made many noteworthy contributions on the field during their five-day quest for a chance to attend Nationals in Texas.
And while Devart, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear with the team in January, couldn’t compete, she still traveled with the team and cheered them on during the team’s impressive performance.
Fury Athletica, coached by Theo Egbele, went undefeated in pool play, easily pulling out a 6-0 victory over the Vermont Elite Futbol 2002/2001 Rock Stars in their first matchup of the tournament.
The team kept the momentum up the next day when they played the State Champions of Delaware and defeated them 3-0. The FC Stars of Massachusetts needed a victory for a chance to force a possible tiebreaker opportunity that could have left Athletica’s opportunity to advance in question in the final match up of pool play.
However, Athletica was able to pull off another shut out (3-0) and went into semis without giving up a single goal.
In an exciting and very competitive game the following day, Athletica defeated Eastern Regional League representative FC Frederick 01 (MD) 4-2 in overtime to advance to the final.
Athletica is ranked as one of the top 100 teams in their age group in the entire nation. It is expected that their ranking will go up after their successful performance on the regional platform.