Area soccer players shine in Ohio tournament
Local children can be found on soccer fields in spring, summer and fall, whether they play with a school-sanctioned team or in a recreational league.
During the colder months, the soccer fields may be empty, but many of those kids are still playing.
In fact, just a couple of weekends ago, a few dozen players from around the area traveled to Ohio to take part in the Madison Invitational Soccer Tournament.
The players attended the tournament as members of one of four teams sponsored by the Foothills Soccer Club, a PA West Soccer Player Development program.
"It's called an invitational tournament, but it's open to anybody who wants to participate," Denny Marzano said of the Ohio tournament. "This is the first competitive tournament that we've entered."
Marzano coaches the Foothills Soccer Club's Under 10 Girls team, which attended the tournament along with an Under 11 girls team, an Under 10 boys squad, and an Under 11 boys team. Both boys' squads and the Under 11 girls team brought back first-place trophies from the tournament, which Marzano said was held Nov. 5-6 and was attended largely by teams from the Cleveland area. The local teams played four games each and finished the tournament with a combined record of 14-1-1.
The Under 10 boys team includes David Vilchek, Justin Koontz, Daniel Nicolaus, Jeremy Perez, Travis Conway and Matt Weiss. T.J. Radic, David Kost, Joseph Martincic, Alan Robinson, Alex Robinson, Dalton Novak, Daniel Seamans, Geno Leone and Matthew Loughnane make up the Under 11 boys team.
Samantha Maughan, Brittany Ruggeri, Lauren Virgin, Kaylee Cummins, Maria Garlowich, Alyssa Argento, Emily Helms, Amanda Harrer and Kelsey Soom play on the Under 11 girls team. The Under 10 girls team features Kaylee Rabatin, Leigh Appalonia, Jenna Roth, Emily Roth, Emily Burkhart, Anna Sowinski, Natalie Luppold, Nikole Edwards, Caitlin Fess and Brittany Leonard.
"They did very well. I was surprised," Marzano said of the local teams' first attempt at competition.
Marzano said the Foothills Soccer Club, which is based in Youngwood, draws players from areas including Irwin, Scottdale, Connellsville and Uniontown.
"It's year-round training," he said, explaining that the club has moved its weekly training sessions to Saturdays at Hot Shots Indoor Sports Arena in Mt. Pleasant.
"Most of these kids play with their local rec clubs," he said. "(Foothills Soccer Club) tries to offer a higher level of training than they might get in the rec leagues."
Though player development programs typically focus on improving technique and may not put as much emphasis on wins and losses, Marzano said the club has plans to attend more competitive tournaments in the future.
"We plan on doing one out-of-state tournament per season, so we'll do one in the winter, spring and fall," he said.