The Northeast Ohio Select Soccer Club captured the Boys U16 division title at last weekend’s Greater Cleveland Sports Commission’s Continental Cup. Despite playing with a limited roster of 12 players due to injuries, the Greater Cleveland group came up big in the championship game.
In pool play, NEO defeated Newmarket United FC of Ontario, Canada, 2-1, as Johnston scored both goals. It improved to 2-0 with a 5-2 victory against Claymores SC of Geneva as Johnson, Bildstein, Huron’s Giovanni James, Elyria Catholic’s Michael Saddler and Amherst’s Dalton Sweet all scored. NEO ended pool play with a 1-0 loss to Empire United FC of Buffalo, N.Y.
In the playoffs and in the semifinals, NEO defeated Calasanz FC of Spain, 4-2, as North Royalton’s Jake Lagania, Johnston, incoming Elyria High freshman Josh Lewis and Huron’s Solomon Dutton each scored once. Lagania is a member of the national U16 team and Lewis is a member of the U14 national pool.
In the championship game, NEO again met Empire United FC. Lagania scored NEO’s only goal and the title game was tied 1-1 and went to penalty kicks. NEO then outscored Empire 4-1 to win the crown with Cloverleaf’s Dominic Payerchin, Sweet, Saddler and Lagania all tallying goals for the winning squad.
The NEO Select Club is coached by Baldwin-Wallace University head coach and former Bay High School and Hiram College standout Reid Ayers. The NEO Club director is Olmsted Falls resident Chris Mueller.
“This was an outstanding accomplishment given our limited roster due to injuries and a few other complications,” said Mueller. “Our young men played with a great deal of heart and desire, and their conditioning really paid off in a big way. This was a very good tournament, and it was well-organized by the sports commission.”
For more information on NEO Club soccer, please contact NEO club director Chris Mueller at 440-781-4015 or information director Kevin Ruple at 440-799-7594. The NEO website can be reached at www.neoselect.com.
Information courtesy of Kevin Ruple