The Iowa Rush Soccer Club made some history on Sunday in the U.S. Youth Soccer Presidents Cup at Westfield, Ind.
The Ankeny-based club advanced two teams to the finals of their respective divisions, the 18U boys’ team and the 14U girls’ squad. The 18U boys’ team posted a 5-1 victory over Barcelona of Arizona to become the first Iowa program to win a U.S. Youth Soccer national title.
“The Iowa Rush Soccer Club could not be more proud of the 18U boys and the 14U girls for competing in a national championship final,” said Paul Fabry, Iowa Rush Executive/Technical Director. “Both teams represented Iowa Rush with great character as they were the first-ever teams from the state of Iowa to compete for a national championship in youth soccer.”
The boys’ team was comprised mostly of Ankeny and Ankeny Centennial players. Eleven of the 16 players competed for the Hawks or Jaguars this spring.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Riley Wood, who was named to the all-tournament team along with Michael Brandt and Ben Frazee. “We’re all really proud to get to be the first Rush team to win at that level.”
Charlie Pritchard opened the scoring in the title game. Nick Ashton then added a pair of goals as the Rush built a 3-0 lead just 28 minutes into the contest.
Will Overberg and Jaeger Erickson each added a late goal to help seal the victory for the Rush, who advanced to the national tournament after winning the Midwest Region title.
“Going into it I was fairly confident that if we played together and played hard, we could compete with anyone that we had to face,” Wood said. “And we showed that we could.”
The Rush dominated the Presidents Cup competition, outscoring its foes by a 39-4 margin. They also defeated Barcelona of Arizona, 2-1, on Saturday.
Other members of the team were Elliot Reason, Jack Heckenlaible, Jonathan Stockwell, Brandon Merrit, Easton Becker, Matthew Garland, Cole Vincent, Kolby Raineri and Alex Goodell. The team was coached by Brian Duax, the Centennial boys’ soccer coach.
“This was an outstanding group of young men,” Duax said. “They peaked this year at the right time to win regionals and then nationals. I feel blessed to be able to help them on the journey while their normal coach, Kirk Artist, was away. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these young men.”
The 14U girls’ team also advanced to the final before dropping a 1-0 decision to LVSA White of Nevada. LVSA’s Alysia Aspiazu scored the game’s only goal in the 47th minute.
Each of the Iowa team’s three previous games ended with a 1-0 margin, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that the final turned out to be another defensive battle. LVSA posted its third straight shutout to capture the national title.
Cady Compton and Eden Gibson of the Rush were both named to the all-tournament team.
“These players have been dedicated to their long-term development within our club’s curriculum and with the help of our professional coaching staff have pushed themselves to be prepared for the highest levels of competition such as this,” Fabry said. “We at the Iowa Rush are extremely pleased with the way the players and coaches represented us throughout the many stages of the national championship series and set a new standard of excellence for our club.”
The winning teams were among 48 participating US Youth Soccer boys’ and girls’ teams in the 13U through 18U age groups that came from all over the country to compete for a national title. Nine different state associations were represented among the champions, including Illinois, which claimed three titles.