Kalamazoo gunning for Championships in Tampa
Kalamazoo Kingdom Press Release - www.kalamazookingdom.com
Monday, August 25, 2008
KALAMAZOO – Six of the Kalamazoo Kingdom’s eight USL Super Y-League youth soccer teams have qualified to compete in the league’s North American Finals in Tampa this November. The Kingdom Club was ranked No. 8 of more than 100 clubs in 2007 by the Super Y-League, a North American youth soccer league. The qualification of the Boys Under 13, 14, 16, 17 and Girls Under 14 and 15 teams should propel the Kingdom Super Y-League club to an even higher ranking for 2008.
“The hard work of the Kingdom players, coaches, staff and especially the commitment of the players’ families has given the Kingdom organization and West Michigan Soccer great national recognition,” said Chris Keenan, Kingdom soccer director, “Our athletes will compete to win a national championship with the class and dignity that the athlete’s of West Michigan are known for.”
The SYL NAF, regarded as the top youth soccer competition in North America, is a five-day tournament drawing more than 130 of the best youth soccer teams in the United States and Canada for boys and girls ages U13 to U17.Teams qualified from their respective regions and will face the best from across North America in a quest to become league champions.
The national finals will include 5,000 players, parents and spectators. The 2007 finals featured teams from Vancouver to Miami, with some teams representing the top professional clubs in the nation, such as Major League Soccer’s D.C. United and Red Bull New York.
The 2008 SYL Finals begins on Thursday, November 20 with the first day of matches scheduled for Friday, November 21. Championship matches will be played on Tuesday, November 25.
The U13 Boys team coached by Chris Keenan has earned its first trip to the NAF. Kalamazoo finished the season 7-2-1 and was three points clear of fourth-place finisher Indiana Invaders. The Kingdom outscored their opponents by 30 goals and their tough schedule in the Midwest Division has prepared them for all challengers in November.
Players: Josh Walker- Portage MI, Brock Roelofs- Portage MI, Wondissen Anemone- Kalamazoo MI, Kyle Cupp- Otsego MI, Jordan VanOostenbrugge- Grand Rapids MI, Aaron Abdo- Kalamazoo MI, Austin Degroot- Jenison MI, Colin Howard- Portage MI, Coach Chris Keenan, Jeremy Ireland- Grand Rapids MI, Alec Fisher- Battle Creek MI, Brandon Bye- Portage MI, Ben Brooks- Allegan MI, Kalvis Melbardis- Kalamazoo MI, Tyler Stender- Plainwell MI, Steven Stryker- Kalamazoo MI, Justin Eustice- Kalamazoo MI, Darren Peel- Portage MI, Thomas Conerty- Ada MI
The U14 Boys, coached by Western Michigan University’s Men’s Head coach, Chris Karwoski, managed to qualify for the NAF for a second year running. The Kingdom finished with 28 points and a record of 9-2-1 and started the season strong with a nine-game unbeaten streak. The team’s 2007 campaign ended with a heart-breaking 2-1 semifinal loss to the Los Angeles Slammers.
Players: Josh Whitaker- Vicksburg MI, Danny Busch- Portage MI, Chad Gordon- Hudsonville MI, Hunter Vandenboom- Grand Rapids MI, Tad Drabik- Portage MI, Caleb Postlewait- Grand Rapids MI, Hunter Tolley- Portage MI, Michael Williams- Kalamazoo MI, Steve Sanburn- Mattawan MI, Ryan Knue- Portage MI, Will Rungaitis- Portage MI, Colin Kreager- Richland MI, David Sosnoski- Kalamazoo MI, Sean Conerty- Ada MI,Nick Wysong- Elkhart IN, Ryan Fetters- St. Joseph MI, Jose Escandon- Richland MI, Jacob Nantz- Galesburg MI, Dom Hunter- Shipshewana IN, Cory Werner-Hopkins- Kalamazoo MI, Joe Sweet- Belding MI, Coach Chris Karwoski
The U16 Boys, coached by Jim Fuller, makes their second consecutive trip to Tampa in search of the North American Championship. The team will bring a loaded offense to Tampa , as the Kingdom exploded with 41 goals in just ten games and outscored their opponents by an impressive 30 goals. Their 2007 campaign ended last year in the semifinals to powerhouse Los Angeles Arsenal.
Players: Sean Lewis- Rockford MI, Patrick Drabik- Portage MI, Tyler Fischer- Jenison MI, Nermin Crnkic- Grand Rapids MI, Lawrence Murray- Ada MI, Ben Thomas- Ada MI, Kevin Ledden- Portage MI, Paul Mudgett- Belmont MI, TJ VanSlooten- Grand Rapids MI, Jim Fuller (coach), David Fuller- Hudsonville MI, Justin Gulch- Byron Center MI, Ryan Conerty- Ada MI, Dzenan Catic- Kentwood MI, Jacob Karasiewicz- Grand Rapids MI, Nick Heyboer- Grand Haven MI, Paul Carbone- Hudsonville MI, Geoff Carlson- Hudsonville MI, Matt Gallagher- Okemos MI, Lawrence Murray (assistant coach), Matiss Batarags
The most surprising qualification happened when WMU Men’s Assistant Coach Chad Wiseman guided the U17 Boys to the NAF. The Kingdom held off the Alliance Academy and the Chicago Fire to secure the final spot from the Midwest Division. Kalamazoo finished the season with a record of 5-2-0 and has outscored their opponents by a total of 13 goals on the season.
Players: Christian Rossi-Grand Rapids, Torin Carpenter-Portage, Hunter Miller-Mattawan, Danny Reyes-Sturgis, Jose Reyes-Sturgis, Sean Hurley-Portage, Antonio Ivens-Vicksburg, Jacob Jensen-Vicksburg, Ryan Robinson-St Joe, David Roberts-Delton, Taylor Kimbrel-Portage, Billy Creameans-Portage, Jeremy Krueger-Portage, Corbin Decker-Vicksburg, Heath Somers-Portage, Casey Higgason-Portage, Sean Magee-Portage, Head Coach-Chad Wiseman, Josh Schultz-Grand Rapids
The U14 Girls solidified their first trip to the NAF after falling to goal differential in 2007 to the Cleveland Internationals. The Internationals went on to claim the 2007 U13 Girls North American Championship as the top U13 team in both the United States and Canada, something the Kingdom are well equipped to do this season, heading to Tampa at the top of their game. The side finished the regular season with three straight wins in which they outscored their opponents 12-1. Solid defense that held the opponents to seven goals in seven games should help the team compete against North America’s best offenses.
Players: Kaitlyn Keenan- Portage MI, Erika Bradfield- Rockford MI, Katherine Galen- Battle Creek MI, Alexa Conner- Lawrence MI, Abbey Labreque- Battle Creek MI, Allison Schau- East Scotts MI, Alexis Rossi- Grandville MI, Lisa Willbur- Battle Creek MI, Erin White- Grand Rapids MI, Coach Jeff Brown, Alysha Johnson- Lawton MI, Hannah Scafaria- Kalamazoo MI, Casey Shauman- Portage MI, Casey Westveer- Kentwood MI, Jane Buerkel- Kalamazoo MI, Ali Russo- Kalamazoo MI, Samantha Vinton- Ada MI, Morgan Behm- Grand Rapids MI, Madisson Morgan- Grand Rapids MI, Lauren Saar- Plainwell MI
The U15 Girls, coached by WMU Men’s Assistant Coach Chad Wiseman make their third trip to the NAF. The team finished with a record of 6-1-1 and was the only team to defeat the Cleveland Internationals this season. After failing to get a win in their first two games, Kalamazoo finished the season on a tear by going perfect in their final six contests. In 2006, the team made it to the NAF semi finals and in 2007 they lost in the group stage to eventual champs.
Players:Paige Wester – Portage MI , Charlotte Socia- Kalamazoo MI, Mary-Kathryn Fiebernitz- Linden MI, Madison Sandmeyer – Portage MI, Samantha Kay – Portage MI, Mara Bennett – Portage MI, Samantha Pavlika – Temperance MI, Layne Vandenberg – Ada MI, Lindsay Shafer – Portage MI, Lunden Carpenter – Kalamazoo MI, Coach Chad Wiseman, Caitlyn Brown – Ann Arbor MI, Taylore Peterson – Portage MI, Taylor Ward – Grand Blanc MI, Cara Pardon – Ann Arbor MI, Lindsey Arnett – Portage MI , Samantha Osterhaven – Caledonia MI, Jenna Sexton – Dundee MI, Mika Bussey – Brighton MI, Abigail McCollum