Members of Seacoast United’s U16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy team travelled to England to take part in 5 matches over the course of the week-long stay. Upon arrival, the boys visited Oxford, and Seacoast United’s sister club Oxford United for two games against Oxford’s Academy teams. After some sight-seeing and settling in with host families from Montagu Boys' Club, the team then participated in the Four Nations tournament from Friday through Sunday. Click continue to read match reports from each game.
Members of Seacoast United’s U16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy team travelled to England to take part in 5 matches over the course of the week-long stay. Upon arrival, the boys visited Oxford, and Seacoast United’s sister club Oxford United for two games against Oxford’s Academy teams. After some sight-seeing and settling in with host families from Montagu Boys' Club, the team then participated in the Four Nations tournament from Friday through Sunday.
Seacoast United vs. Oxford United, Oxford England
Game #1 vs. Oxford United Academy
The first leg of trip for the Seacoast United U16s was Oxford, England where the team took part in two friendlies against a group of about thirty 15-17 year olds on trial with Oxford United’s Youth Academy.
The first game saw Seacoast get off to a bit of a slow start while trying to find the tempo of the game and adjust to the first grass surface the team had played on all year. The boys found themselves down 2-0 just 25 minutes in when the team twice failed to clear a loose ball in the box and Oxford took advantage. Seacoast settled in though, and looked particularly dangerous attacking up the flanks and serving in crosses and set pieces towards the end of the first half.
Still being down 2-0 at the break ,Seacoast wasted little time as they continued to apply pressure to Oxford United. Just 10 minutes into the half Seacoast found the back of the net for the first time on the trip as Ramiro Osorio latched onto a tricky through ball passed the Oxford back line, dribbled the goalkeeper, and knocked the ball into the back of the net.
This was quickly followed by couple good chances as Jason Underhill found himself in on a breakaway that the Oxford goalkeeper did well to save, and Charlie Defeo saw his 35-yard effort come off the cross bar just minutes later.
But Defeo got another chance at the 30-minute mark that he made sure not to waste as Oxford left a long free kick bouncing around their box and Defeo jumped on the loose ball and walked it past the keeper and into the net. Both teams traded a few chances to finish the first game, but neither team could find the winner, leaving the score notched at 2-2.
Game #2 vs. Oxford United Academy
In the second game Seacoast started just the way they’d finished the first game just minutes before, with an early flurry of opportunities, but after failing to capitalize it was Oxford who found the first goal, breaking down the right flank, finding an open player at the top of the box, and smashing the ball into the side netting.
The game remained 1-0 until with just 5 minutes left in the half Osorio was taken down in the box an easily finished the resulting penalty kick to draw even before.
The second half was uneventful for both teams – save for a goal for Oxford off a corner which Seacoast failed to clear effectively – as fatigue from the previous 120 minutes of play over two games set in, leaving the final score at 2-1 for Oxford.
“The way the boys battled back in the first game was crucial in showing them what they are capable of and I think it really sparked some belief that they could do well over the course of this week,” Assistant Coach Logan Hoffman said. “Fatigue played a huge role in the second game, but the boys still played some good soccer and did a few things very well.”
Following the two games and a good night’s sleep the boys took a day to train at Oxford United’s training ground with a few members of the coaching staff and spent a few hours wandering around Oxford and the historic university there before heading off to Newcastle for the Four Nations Tournament.
Four Nations Tournament, Durham England
Game #1 vs. England
The game was played during a spell of cold windy weather in the Durham stadium and the boys from Seacoast United were up for a decent game after their excursion the day before from Oxford in the south of the country.
Seacoast kicked off into the wind which had become quite blustery, and had a difficult time getting into a rhythm of passing and moving with the typical English physical game. However, Seacoast held their own with the central defensive pairing of Sam Milbury and Ben Mack doing very well against the opposition’s big strikers. England’s wide midfield players were causing some problems but Colin Macdonald and Andrew Chaput neutralized their attack with some resolute defending. Seacoast was able to create several opportunities, but to no avail. The game was scoreless as it went to halftime, with England holding the edge in shots and possession.
Seacoast United made several changes at half time and the introduction of Charlie Defeo at the heart of midfield with Guy Kabala hoped to provide an additional spark to the attack.
Then after four minutes, England capitalized on a header off a cross served in from the right hand side. England now had a bit of momentum and could have gone two up, if not for two outstanding saves from goalkeeper Nick Bergen. Romario Osorio and Kabala were now showing for Seacoast and could have equalized but for a goal-line clearance from the English defense.
With ten minutes left and a change of system to give more width on offense, Seacoast put themselves on the scoreboard with a tremendous 30 yard strike from Osorio, who chipped the keeper who was out of position after misjudging a through-ball. Now within 1 goal, Seacoast had another opportunity from 25 yards out with a free kick, and again it was Osorio who curled a tremendous shot into the top to equalize at 2-2. Both teams had several chances to win but goalkeepers were up to the task. Players who stood out were Osorio, Milbury, Kabala and Jason Underhill.
Game #2 vs. Wales
Against another more physical side in Wales, Seacoast started brightly and early on showed glimpses of class although the team missed many chances to go ahead, especially down the left hand side. After 15 minutes a touch of brilliance from midfielder Charlie Defeo put the team ahead 1-0 as he went past two defenders easily and smashed the ball into the opposite corner of the goal with his left foot. The team took total control of the game and play was taking place mainly in the Wales half with Chris Ulbrich and Noah Arling combining well with their respective defenders Ryan Sharby and Matt Cooper. Just before half time, a perrfectly flighted corner from Cooper ended up with Defeo leaping above the keeper’s outstretched hands and hitting a bullet header into the top corner to make it 2-0.
Full of confidence at half time, the Seacoast squad came out and put on a great passing display against a downtrodded Welsh squad and went further ahead with a opportunist goal from Jason Underhill from outside the penalty area after some good work from Junior Tomlinson. The game then fizzled out with few chances for both teams and the final result of 3-0 marked a well deserved victory fo the Americans. Marshall Davidson in goal was outstanding keeping several Welsh strikers at bay, particularly at 2-0 when the Welsh side could have got back into the game. Youngsters Austin Kimball and Graham Peterson played very well and adapted to the strong Welsh midfielders and strikers. Charlie Defeo was awarded man of the match by the Tournament Committee and in addition defenders Ryan Sharby and Andrew Chaput had excellent games.
Game #3 vs. Scotland
The last game versus Scotland started with Seacoast needing to win by three clear goals to win the tournament. Although the side created several great goal scoring opportunities in the first half, play was a bit sloppy and lethargic at times and both teams struggled to keep possession. A midfield battle with the big Scottish holding midfield player and Guy Kabala was the highlight of the game up until now but shortly into the second half Seacoast fell behind to a decent strike from one of the Scotland strikers and the Americans trailed 1-0. The team pressed for an equaliser and had many opportunities go begging with Osorio and Simmond missing chances which on any other day would have been put away. Scotland were kept under pressure until the final whistle and while the boys never gave up, the equalizer avoided them and the match finished 1-0 to Scotland. Three players in particular stood out in the game and they were Colin Macdonald, Casey Schehl and Guy Kabala.
After all the games were played the young USA squad finished runners up in the tournament to England and left the coaches, traveling parents, and Montagu host families proud of their achievements.