PHOENIX—After an intense, entertaining, and fun weekend where scorelines shifted as quickly and dramatically as the Arizona heat, Washington Youth Soccer is proud of all 22 EPD teams that played in the 2020 ODP West Championships, including our finalists and champions. The Elite Player Development program finds the best of the best from clubs throughout the state, where they are then led by a select group of hand-picked coaches who meet the highest of standards. The teams, which are organized by age group and gender, then compete in the regional Olympic Development Program championships in the hopes that players will be recognized by ODP scouts and selected for regional camps.
This was a particularly special tournament for our Eastern Washington teams, many of whom secured fine results throughout the bracket stage and were unlucky not to make the semifinals. It was the first time that a Girls U12 (08) EPD team had been sent to the ODP West Championships from Eastern Washington; even if the results didn’t go their way, this was a really important moment for the EPD program in our state. Girls 08 EWA scored their first goal in their final bracket match, and it was a seriously epic moment for everyone involved.
The tournament kicked off strong for many of our squads, highlighted by the Girls 05 WA squad’s 8-0 win over Alaska and the delightful show put on by the reigning champion Girls 07 WA team as they dismantled New Mexico in a 7-0 win. The Boys 03 WA squad, led by former Sounders pro James Riley, didn’t have it easy in their first match against Oregon, but they came out on top in a 3-2 thriller to start their tournament off strong. Their counterparts, Boys 03 EWA, had a similarly thrilling battle in their first game of the event as they snagged a 2-1 win over Colorado.
Another early breakout star was the Girls 07 EWA squad, who came out flying against Idaho in their first game and showed what they were capable of in the 3-1 win. They followed that up with an even more dominant performance against Northern Nevada, defeating them 3-0 as they headed into their final matchup. Unfortunately, the tide turned for EWA in that meeting with Hawaii, where they were defeated 7-0. Regardless, they put on a great show for everyone present and we’re excited to see what they can do next year.
Day 2 presented the final bracket stage matches for most of our teams; the margins were extremely thin and the stakes were incredibly high. Boys 03 WA continued their strong start with another edge-of-your-seat matchup with Cal South, whom they defeated 2-1 through two phenomenal goals from Fynn Allmon. Similarly, the Girls 06 WA team defeated Northern Nevada 2-0, including an excellent finish into the bottom right corner by Maggie Dutra.
The Girls 04 EWA squad was the star of the Eastern Washington show that day as they won their second game in a row, this time 2-1 over Oregon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for them to make it through to the semis after only securing a single point from their last two matches. After a strong start and two wins, Boys 04 WA had a brief scare when they dropped points and drew Idaho 1-1, but it was still enough to send them through to the semifinal. Despite a pair of decent wins by Boys 03 EWA over Colorado and Oregon, their one loss to eventual finalists Utah (who later eliminated the B03 WA squad) kept them out of the semis.
In total, five Washington Youth Soccer EPD teams made it through to Sunday’s semifinals—though the Boys 08 WA wouldn’t secure their spot until they played their final bracket game early Sunday morning.
We’re proud of all our teams and their hard work this weekend, but it was on Sunday that some of our EPD squads really showed off for all those in attendance. Riveting, daring, and creative soccer was on display in every single match from start to finish. Brilliant goals were scored, phenomenal saves were made, and three teams booked their tickets for the finals. After a truly inspiring run through the bracket, Girls 03 WA faced a very good Cal South team that scored early and made things even tougher for our squad as they made a valiant, but ultimately unsuccessful comeback attempt.
Things were far different for the Girls 05 WA team, who stepped in and dominated until the final whistle in their 2-0 win over a strong Cal North side. It was much tougher for Boys 04 WA, whose semifinal against Utah came next. Despite creating a ton of chances throughout the game, they didn’t secure the win until snagging a goal from a corner kick late in the game for the 1-0 victory.
Our next semifinalists didn’t fare as well, as the Boys 03 WA suffered a heartbreaking loss to Utah. After going down by two goals, they pulled one back after scoring a delightful volley from a throw-in routine, but in the end they couldn’t add to their tally and the match finished 2-1. But the day didn’t end on a low note, because the Boys 08 WA team came in and put on a performance for the ages against Colorado. After their first goal, which ping-ponged around before landing in the net, they didn’t stop scoring stunner after stunner until they’d achieved the final result of 6-0 that sent them to the final.
The apex of the weekend, the moment that so many players, coaches, and parents were waiting for, finally arrived on Monday. Three Washington Youth Soccer EPD teams made the finals for their age groups, led by Girls 05 WA. Despite an incredible run by the team, who was well-coached all weekend by former professional Lyndsey Patterson, they fell 3-0 to Cal South in the end. They were followed by Boys 08 WA, who continued their epic semifinal result with more goals in their 3-0 win over Arizona. The Boys 04 WA squad finished off the semifinalists for our state, and they did so with a satisfying, championship-winning result. While not the runaway that the 08 squad had, they finished with a very good 3-1 win over Oregon to secure their winners’ medals.
Overall, Washington was extremely well-represented from start to finish in Phoenix, and we know that every player worked hard for themselves, their teams, and their state. We have no doubt plenty of them turned some heads and made their case to be called up to ODP regional camps soon.
See the full tournament results at the button below, check out our gallery from the final day, and watch our social media channels for more of our favorite moments in photo and video in the coming weeks.