Beadling SC 16U boys fall in USYS National Championship for 3rd straight year
For the third straight year, the 16U Beadling boys soccer team fought its way to the United States Youth Soccer Championship this past weekend in Overland Park, Kan.
But, also for the third straight year, the team comprised of players from the Pittsburgh area fell just short of the ultimate goal of winning a national championship.
It was a familiar scene for Beadling too, as they took the field opposite LVSA, a team based out of Las Vegas, Nev. The two teams faced off last year on the same stage, and LVSA edged out a short-handed Beadling team, 2-0.
One year later, the result was the same. The Las Vegas-based team took advantage of two second-half goals to capture a second straight championship. Although the outcome was similar, Beadling felt different heading into their third attempt at a national title.
“The first year we got there, we were just happy to be there, and the second year we were prepared to win,” Beadling coach Robert Fabean said. “Then, this year we thought we had a great shot to win based on how we were playing leading up to then.”
Beadling’s return to the championship got off to a rocky start as it ran into LVSA in the first game of pool play and fell 3-0. Both teams were in the same group, and the top two advanced to the semifinals.
Though the loss might have been a temporary setback, Fabean said he had a pretty good feeling Beadling would be seeing LVSA again.
“We knew that they were one of the top teams in the country, so losing that game didn’t really affect what we did the rest of the tournament,” Fabean said. “We knew we had a pretty good shot against the other two teams in our group based on video, so we expected to be playing them again in the national championship.”
Beadling bounced back with two straight, two-goal wins to close out pool play. Then, with a trip back to the championship game on the line, Beadling took down FC Dallas 03 Premier in the semifinals, 2-1, to set up a rematch with LVSA.
In the championship, the two teams were scoreless through the first 40 minutes.
“We came out in a different formation in the second game,” Fabean said. “It was the same one that we used in the second half of the first game, and I thought we played them very well in. I thought it was probably the reason we played them to a draw in the first half of the championship game.”
Coming out of halftime, LVSA capitalized on a rebound in the box and delivered the go-ahead goal in the 59th minute. Thirteen minutes later, LVSA controlled a ball in the box and scored an insurance goal.
The Beadling squad features rising juniors Joe Fonagy (Canon-McMillan), Ethan Sanders (South Fayette), Brock Picket (Ohio), Chad Eldridge (South Fayette), RJ Stetz (Montour), Cyrus Khani (Upper St. Clair), Owen Maher (Canon-McMillan), Chase Thomas (Seneca Valley) and Jake Sciorilli (Franklin Regional).
The rising sophomores include Anthony DiFalco (Franklin Regional), Austin Marmol (Peters Township), Joseph Pustover (West Allegheny), Will Douglas (West Allegheny), Jaxon Ervin (West Allegheny), Mason Fabean (Greensburg C.C.), Zach Panza (Hampton) and AJ Getsy (Thomas Jefferson).
Although the group fell short of its ultimate goal, Beadling accomplished something rare. So, when Fabean gathered his team he reminded them of that, but he also told them there was still work to be done to have a fourth straight attempt next year.
“I told them we need to be proud of our accomplishments; it’s no shame placing second three years in a row,” he said. “A lot of teams don’t get that opportunity. But to understand that we didn’t go there the last two years to finish second.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .