For the second year in a row and third time overall, Eastside FC G03 Reign Academy 2 and Coach Anderson Prestes won the Championship Cup last month defeating PacNW G03 Maroon, 2-1.
The weekend was a nail-biter. Both the semifinal win over Washington Premier FC and the Championship game against PacNW were intense. Ashley Kirschner scored the winning goal of the semifinal in the last five minutes of the game to secure their spot in the finals.
On Sunday, the team was down to two subs during the hottest day to date this year in the Seattle metro. After allowing one goal in the first half, the girls battled their way back in the second half to tie the game and go into overtime. Fortunately, Eastside scored first and fought hard to defend until the final whistle blew.
“We were not one of the favorites going into the Cup,” said Coach Prestes. “But the girls and I agreed that we would do our very best to win it all by giving the best effort and being prepared as possible.”
The year was challenging for Eastside because three of the girls left after last season to play for the Reign Academy. During the Fall, the team was split with half leaving to play for their high school and the other half playing with the combined 8th grade age group team. When the team reconvened in December, it took some time to gel because several of the players were new to the team this year.
“With the compressed schedule full of double headers and with injuries that players carried over from their high school soccer season, thee girls had to work really hard to overcome and step up to tough competition,” reflects Prestes.
The girls ended their RCL season as semifinalists in FarWest Regional League – a huge accomplishment given where they had started just weeks before.
Team chemistry and trust are the two key components to this team, said Prestes. The positive attitude of the girls and their trust in the player/team development process that Eastside FC set out for them has allowed them to grow into champion soccer players, he said. This, he says, is what makes the Academy 2 experience at Eastside so special.
“Eastside’s Academy 2 program is a great opportunity for players that are not quite ready to jump to the academy level but still want to have high-level coaching guidance and want to take advantage of Eastside’s overall training environment so that they can continue to improve their game and move up to the Academy level,” he said. “Or for some, just to simply enjoy the high school soccer experience while still competing for a top Washington club,” he said.
The team will take off for some much earned rest and recovery before reconvening in one week to begin preparation for Regionals in Honolulu. Based on their history of winning against all odds, there is no doubt that if they set their mind to it, these girls will be on to Nationals in Frisco, Texas July 23-29! Best of luck, ladies!