UNBELIEVABLE, heart of a champion! The U17 West Coast Wild flew to Indiana late Thursday night. The first Game of the 2015 US club National Championships for Wild was against the New Hampshire Sea Coast United the game was delayed four times due to a severe thunderstorm over Indiana at the Grand Sports Complex. Ultimately their Friday game was canceled and rescheduled for 8:30am Saturday morning. The Wild had to get up at 3 am (PST time) travel an hour to the field & kick off 5:30am (CA time) let’s just say the odds were completely against the Northern California team. “We played like we were in a different dimension, passes, traps, shots, saves, all the simple things seemed so hard” says coach Dayak. Wild were down 3-0 before they knew what time zone the were in. What happened next is truly amazing… Coach Dayak at halftime urged his players to start climbing that massive comeback mountain, one of his smallest players Sienna Zabroski collided with an opponent twice her size on a 50/50 ball cutting her head open in the process. Her intensity sparked the team & the Wild scored shortly after and with 15 min to go in the game it seemed as though the jet lag had worn off and they started adjusting to the proper time zone, passes started to hit their mark, goal two came from a corner kick! The girls battled for 90 minutes of soccer in 85% humidity, 4 minutes of stoppage time was added due to the injury. Team captain Tori Nicolo stepped up 3 minutes into added time and tied the score 3-3.
The Wild have 11 new players at Nationals this year. Eight of them are younger (U16) and three are two age groups younger (U15).
Against the odds, time zone fatigue, humidity & scorching heat Wild climbed their way back into the game and salvaged what could have been a devastating start.
Second game at Nationals, Wild began moving the ball and creating chances against a solid Three Rivers 97 Elite from Washington, Wild players had chance to score early on but hit the post, hit the shot wide or over, then comes the coaches nightmare the oppositions first shot on goal goes in & Wild were down 1-0. To make things worse the second shot against goes in as well. Being down 2-0 Wild start to make some adjustments with new personnel coach Dayak brings players out for discussion and direction. After the adjustment were made, Wild players started to execute and got one back before half. Halftime speech is trying to keep things positive & not to panic knowing they need to get another one back to keep their National repeat alive. Wild score 2 min into second half with a beautiful goal. The girls are starting to believe they can win the game. The 2-0 deficit has now been erased, it’s 2-2 a Wild are pushing to win the game. Both team Captains step up big Nicolo hits a cracker of a left foot that is blocked, she gets her own rebound & hits it first time out of the air & scores!!! Wild are up 3-2, these are very good teams here that were state & regional champions of their state. Amazing effort by the girls and it’s wasn’t over yet the younger players are now playing like veterans & the team leaders are stepping up! All the silly errors in the first half have been dissected for information on how to prevent & they are working together to keep it from happening again. Megan Amick Led the defense making unbelievable tackles and passes. Wild score another off a very unselfish play. With time ticking down & tied in goal differential with the team they must play next. The coaching staff decide to go for the goal differential tie breaker. Wild score 2 more making the comeback complete with a 5-2 victory over . These are cardiac kids! just when you think you have them beat they come storming back! Two comebacks in games at this level is just unheard of.
Wild’s 3rd game in bracket play was a must win to get in the final. MatchFit from New Jersey was a tough fought game but West Coast was to much for the Jersey girls to handle winning 4-0.
The 2015 National Final was set and it would be a rematch of the 2013 National final where the Pittsburgh Riverhounds beat Wild 1-0. Not this time as the West Coast Wild were on a mission. Newcomers Devin Gilfoy flicks a long throw from Robyn McCarthy to Lauren Sisneros for the first goal of the game. Minutes later Maya Lopez collects the ball and cracks a shot from 30 yards that went upper v. With a 2-0 lead at halftime West Coast was feeling good but knew the Riverhounds had scoring power as they had already scored 11 goals in the tournament. The Wilds defense held strong and Devyn Gilfoy & Tori Nicolo put in two more to put the game out of reach and secure a back to back National Championship for the West Coast.
West Coast Soccer since their inaugural year in 2011 has had a team play in the national final every year making it to the championship game 8 times and winning the National Championship 3 times in their 5 year history as a club. Exceptional!