The West Coast Wildfire U17 girls put their soccer skills on display at the biggest college showcase of the year, the Players Showcase in Las Vegas. Over 50 college coaches came to watch the Wildfire play soccer. Some of the biggest college soccer programs in the nation, UNC, Michigan, BYU, Washington state, Nebraska, and Nevada Reno to name a few, were on the sidelines watching the Wildfire girls as they battled four tough teams from Southern California.
In the three-day showcase, Wildfire played a total of four matches and 310 minutes of soccer. In their first game on Friday afternoon, the girls had a rematch against a very physical Slammers FC team. At the half, the score remained 0-0. The Slammers managed to score a quick goal at the start of the second and another five minutes later. Wildfire held them and even got one back to make it a 2-1 battle for the next 30 minutes.
On Saturday morning, Wildfire faced their toughest competition of the showcase, the Eagles ECNL team. The Eagles capitalized quickly on an early Wildfire error and moved ahead 1-0. At the half, the Eagles were up 3-0. With a few adjustments to the formation and true grit and determination, Wildfire kept the Eagles scoreless in the second half. The Wildfire girls had several offensive attacks but were unable to finish for a score.
Later Saturday afternoon, Wildfire played their third match of the competition against another Slammers team from Southern California. With temperatures in the 90s, strong winds blowing, both teams looked fatigued as the match kicked off. Wildfire again had several offensive attacks but could not find the goal. The match remained 0-0 until late in the second when the Slammers intercepted a pass and managed to fire off their only shot of the match into the upper left corner of the West Coast goal. With only a few minutes left, Wildfire could not answer.
In their final games of the showcase tournament on Sunday, Wildfire again had a rematch with the Pateadores from Los Angeles. Wildfire first faced the Pats two years earlier at the same showcase tournament in Las Vegas. Although battered, bruised and completely exhausted, Wildfire was determined to finish their weekend as strong as they started. West Coast dominated the first half with several offensive attacks. The midfield and defense kept the Pats from any serious attempts on goal. With 50 minutes already on the clock, Wildfire finally found a scoring opportunity with Forward Tatiana Elsie breaking away on the left and connecting a shot into the goal. Wildfire moved ahead and 1-0. They and held onto their lead for the remainder of the match. They closed out the 2017 Players Showcase Las Vegas with a victory and their heads held high knowing they can compete against the best in the country.
Next up for Wildfire is the Norcal Premier Champions League where they are in an elite group of the top 8 teams in Northern California. The girls will be playing in the Champions League through the spring and the State Cup Championship competition in later April.