Sporting Blue Valley Academy ’03 Boys won the US Youth Soccer U19 National Championship on Sunday, defeating Baltimore Celtic Soccer Club (MD) in the finals by a score of 1-0 and collecting the James P. McGuire Cup, the oldest trophy in American youth sports.
Led by Head Coach Shawn Forcellini and assistants Michael Eade, Doug McLagan, Clifford Easton and Tom Mura, the ‘03s amassed a perfect 5-0-0 record throughout the six-day National Championship tournament, which took place July 19-24 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL.
This marks the first National Championship win for Sporting Blue Valley.
After a scoreless first half where Sporting saw a majority of the chances, Blue Valley’s National Title-winner came near the 85th minute, when substitute Nate Esterline won the ball inside his own 18 and connected through the midfield, ultimately finding Luke Mohess, who set up Esterline for the finish.
“We carried the first half. When the second half started we were very confident, we were playing very well,” Coach Forcellini said. “Finally, our last two subs go in with about six minutes left plus extended time, and then within the first minute of those guys coming in, our last sub scores the goal. I don’t think anyone else could have made that run based on legs. Five games in six days is tough, but I’m so happy for him.”
The path to the 2022 National Championship Title saw the Sporting Blue Valley boys pick up nine points in the group stage, with wins against STA Morris United (NJ), FC Dallas Youth Premier (TX), and Bavarian United (WI).
After topping the group with seven goals scored and just one allowed through three matches, SBV met Nationals Union Black (MI) in the semi-finals, where a 1-0 victory secured a spot in the national championship match.
“We play all 18 of our guys. Everyone plays,” Forcellini said. “That brings the whole group together. And I’m glad one of our subs won it for us, because that’s what it’s all about.”
In addition to collecting the McGuire Cup, Sporting BV keeper Ryan Thompson received Goalkeeper of the tournament honors and Cooper Forcellini and Luke Mohess were named to the tournament’s Best XI team.
“We gave up one goal in five games which is amazing, a testament to the group,” said Forcellini. “They train very hard for these kinds of events, so it’s important that we felt we were ready. The boys knew they were ready. It was a great experience.”
Founded in 1977, Sporting Blue Valley has deep roots in the Kansas City soccer landscape. Since becoming a Sporting KC Academy Affiliate in 2011, Sporting BV has produced numerous top-level academy prospects and continues to utilize the tools and access that being an academy affiliate provides.
“That setting just sets the boys up for success,” Forcellini said. “Whenever you know and believe you can play with that level of competition, and with those kinds of players, that belief is what gives you what you need in this kind of instance: that you’re the best and you’re playing with the best. The setting is very very good for the affiliate programs, for us in particular, but our proximity to Sporting is pretty important.”
The James P. McGuire Cup has for 87 years been awarded to the top U-19 boys team at the U.S. Youth Soccer Association’s annual National League Championship. Sporting Blue Valley are the first Kansas City-based team to win the cup.
The US Youth Soccer National Championship is an annual tournament hosting the top boys and girls teams at the 13U-19U age divisions. Teams advance to the National Championship tournament through a series of state and regional competitions known as the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series.
Sporting Blue Valley Academy ’03 Boys Roster:
#00 Ryan Thompson
#2 Noah Higbie
#3 Kaden Cripe
#4 Ryder Barrett
#5 Nate Esterline
#6 Maxwell Easton
#8 Blake Barrick
#10 Cooper Forcellini
#10 Quinten Blair
#12 Luke Mohess
#13 Ryan Masterson
#14 Joshua Peterson
#15 Patrick Franke
#21 Jacob Muckerman
#22 Jake Prather
#24 Sean Brooks
#25 Ethan Cary
#26 Wyatt Arnold
#30 Jackson Elgas
#55 Garrett Smith
Head Coach: Shawn Forcellini
Assistant Coach: Michael Eade
Assistant Coach: Doug McLagan
Assistant Coach: Clifford Easton
Assistant Coach: Tom Mura