Scottsdale Soccer, the largest soccer club in the state, has had its share of success.
But the club's under-12 boys team - the 96 Blackhawks - recently made history when it won its division at the SC Del Sol Presidents Day Tournament in Phoenix.
The Blackhawks gave up only three goals (posting three shutouts) in five games on their way to the championship, beating state champs from Colorado and Utah and the No. 2-ranked teams from New Mexico, Oklahoma and New York.
"This tournament has 300 of the best teams in the country (U12 through U19) and even some from around the world," said Tony Sundermeier, a volunteer board member of Arcadia Scottsdale United Soccer Club. "You must qualify to get into the tournament by being one of the top four teams in your state."
The Blackhawks hail from Scottsdale and the Arcadia area in Phoenix and are coached by Adam Burke, whose professional career includes stints with the United Soccer Leagues' Nashville Metros and the Cincinnati Riverhawks.
Team members are Chase Bishov, Tyler Dial, Grant Galan, Tyler Godbehere, Will Goff, Simon Gutkin, Austin Kates, Cal Kendrick, Clay Kiggins, Grant Lillard, Adam Mosharrafa, Phillip Mourikes, Ryan Oplia, Zack Shearer, Michael Moreno, Zack Shearer and Dylan Struthers.
The competitive arm of the club is known as Scottsdale Soccer, with all of the teams known as Blackhawks. Scottsdale Soccer has approximately 550 boys and girls players on 40 different competitive teams from ages 6 to 18. The recreation side, known as ASUSC, has about 2,000 kids playing on approximately 200 teams.
"Each year, our teams become more and more competitive in the state and nationally," Sundermeier said. "In the last year we have had teams win tournaments in California, compete for the state championships, and as recently as November, go undefeated at the U.S. Professional Soccer's Adidas MLS Championship tournament in Washington."
The club kicked off its six-week spring skills program for ages 6-11 on Tuesday, but you can still join for the remaining five weeks of the program, which runs Tuesdays and Thursdays at Chaparral Park for girls and McDowell Mountain Ranch Park for boys.
A summer skills program is scheduled to begin in April with tryouts for the competitive teams in May and June.
For more information, visit www.asusc.com.
ON TO REGIONALS
The Jr. Coyotes U16AA midget team rallied after losing their first two games to win the state championship and earn the right to represent Arizona on March 13-16, in Provo, Utah, at the USA Hockey regional tournament.
The Jr. Coyotes, whose home rink is Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale, lost 6-5 in overtime to the Peoria Roadrunners and 5-3 to Mission AZ Ice.
After that it was lights out as the squad trounced the Valley of the Sun Hockey Association Mustangs 7-1, exacted a little revenge in blanking the Roadrunners 5-0, then handled AZ Ice 7-2 in the championship game.
The Jr. Coyotes, who are 21-13-2, are composed of Tomas Abrate, Garrett Respondek, Joe Summa, David Risk, Josh Duffy, Dallen West, Nick Pappas, Evan Smith, Daniel Gowans, Alex Moggel, Anthony Cullen, Connor McLaughlin, Shane Marino, Randy Andrus, Doug Sheridan, Graham Engdall, Adam Daha and Gage Mitchell. They are coached by Mark Gowans and assisted by Josh Kerner, Steve Moggel, Robert Jakob and Ray Cory. Nick Pappas is the team manager.
Most of the team members are from the East Valley.
NOT JUST FUN & GAMES
Two East Valley men were inducted into the newly created Arizona Highland Games Athletics Hall of Fame on Feb.24.
Walt Carruthers of Scottsdale and Richard Doria of Chandler were half of a quartet of athletes to receive the honor.
Carruthers, recently deceased, was a founding father of the athletic events, which include tossing a 25-pound stone, 56- and 23-pound iron weights for distance, the caber toss (turning a 100-pound log over end for end) and a pair of heavy iron-headed hammers.
"Walt was instrumental in building the athletic events up from a picnic-like exhibition to a competition," Doria said. "He never accepted any payment for his work, giving the money back to the Caledonian Society of Arizona in order to build up an athletics budget for the following year."
Doria took over from Carruthers and served not only as the athletic director, but also a games chairman in the early 1990s and was an active competitor for 18 years. Doria won world masters championships in 2003 and 2004.
Since retiring from competition in 2005, he has served as judge for the events at all of the games in Arizona.
Gene and Paul Smith of Phoenix were also inducted. Gene Smith is responsible for creating and maintaining the World Women's Highland Games Championship, which just completed its 13th year.
The Arizona Games are one of the first games held every year in the nation and are considered one of the best-run games in the nation for both the spectators and the athletes.
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