Folsom Lake Earthquakes Premier 02B team off to fast start at National League Showcase
The Quakes Premier O2B team traveled two weeks ago to Wilson, North Carolina to compete in the US Youth Soccer National League Showcase.
The O2 Boys’ team is currently ranked seventh in the nation and second in California. The Quakes qualified to compete in the prestigious National League, which hosted 32 top ranked teams in their age group from across the nation. Folsom Lake Earthquakes and Santa Clara Sporting were the only two teams from Northern California in all age groups 14-18.
The first match was against Club Division 02B, which is South Texas’ No. 1 team. The Quakes got off to a strong start and dominated the first 20 minutes of the match with several good opportunities on-goal. Late in the first half, Club Division took advantage of a free kick at the top of the 18 and sent one home for a 1-0 lead at halftime. During the second half, the Quakes fought back with a free kick of their own to tie the match 1-1. The Quakes continued to dominate and added the go-ahead goal midway through the second half, finishing the match with a 2-1 victory.
The Quakes second game was against the home team North Carolina FC Elite, which was ranked No. 1 in their state. The weather was in the upper 30s with heavy rain. There were rumblings before the match that the boys from California wouldn’t be able to handle the weather and that the local team had an advantage. This was quickly debunked, as the Quakes controlled the tempo while slipping and sliding across the pitch, which quickly became a mud bowl. The Quakes scored three unanswered goals during the match and slid to a well-played 3-0 victory.
The third match was played against the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals, who were ranked No. 12 nationally and No. 2 in Pennsylvania. The Quakes began the match confidently, as the elements remained unfriendly with a light rain in the mid 30s. The Nationals set the tone for a physical match and used their size and speed to get out to a 1-0 lead early in the first half. The Quakes answered back on the rain soaked field with a penalty kick to tie the match 1-1 at half. The battle continued in the second half with the Quakes scoring early to take a 2-1 lead. Physical play continued with the Nationals receiving four yellow cards. The Nationals never stopped challenging and battling as time was winding down. During the last five minutes of the match, the Nationals scored two heartbreaking goals to go ahead for the 3-2 victory over the Quakes.
The Quakes were ready to bounce back from the set back the next morning and were set to play the side from Alexandria, Virginia. Unfortunately, all matches were canceled due to poor field conditions. The Quakes ended the weekend two wins and one loss and will be continuing the National League in March, traveling to Las Vegas. The Quakes will be playing Seattle United, Chicago Magic, and Midwest United FC. If the Quakes are able to win their division, they will advance to the National Championship games later in the year in Texas.
Members of the Folsom Earthquakes include goalies Jerry Godfryd and Braden Yonano, defenders Osvaldo Ramirez, Trevor Fritz, Rylan Kono, Benjamin Parisek, and Dawson White, midfielders Jared Cruz, Nicholas Fernandez, Rocco Vasquez, Kenechi Onuaguluchi, Tyson Lapord, Jake Jalili, Marcos Quezada, and Gaelen Filtzanidis, and forwards Nathan Hubbard, Cole Hountalas, Attila Fisher-Varhegyi, Christopher Cutright, and Ethan Anderson.
This Folsom team was No. 3 in the nation last year and is working its way back up the rankings, and are currently at No. 7. They just won the California Regional League and will be competing in the Western Regionals in Hawaii next year.