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WV teams hope to improve record

Jul. 02, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- West Virginia teams served as all-too gracious hosts during last year's US Youth Soccer Region I Championships.

Teams from the Mountain State posted a combined record of 4-40-5 throughout the 18 divisions of play.

With the 2010 tournament games beginning Friday in Barboursville and Huntington, state soccer officials are hoping to still be gracious hosts, but not necessarily gracious in defeat.

Now that the tournament draw has been announced, West Virginia Soccer Association president Len Rogers said he hopes to see several teams advance to the semifinal round.

"We probably have two or three girls teams and a couple of guys teams that have a good chance out of their draw," Rogers said.

A group creating a lot of in-state buzz is the West Virginia Soccer Club Elite Titans from the Huntington area who will compete in the U-16 Boys division under Marshall University men's soccer coach Bob Gray.

Last season, the team also won the state championship to advance to the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships, but fell victim to a difficult draw.

"If you hit all the big states right off the bat, then it makes it difficult but you always have to play the best to be the best," Rogers said.

After earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Herndon (Va.), the Titans fell 2-0 to the Baltimore Casa Mia Bays, who went on to claim the 2009 US Youth Soccer National Championship at U-15.

It was a great experience for the team, but now they have their sights set on showing they are among the nation's elite.

Gray's team is one of eight WVSC teams returning in 2010 after also competing in the 2009 event.

Those teams combined to go 0-16-3 in the 2009 tournament.

Another team that could potentially make some noise is the U-13 Girls WV Chaos 96.

Several members of that team played on the WV Chaos U-12 Girls 8v8 team last year, which was the only team out of the state to advance to the semifinals.

That team, led by former Marshall soccer player Ashleigh Woods, boasted half of the state's wins in the 2009 US Youth Soccer Region I Championships after going 2-0-1 in pool play.

Their run ended with a 4-0 loss to Empire-Syracuse (N.Y.) in the semifinals.

It is one of several teams to look for this week, Rogers said.

"I think we have a couple of teams that can do well this year," Rogers said. "It'll be exciting to see how the draws play out."

Tournament action started with opening ceremonies at 3:40 p.m. Thursday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Pool play runs Friday, July 2 through Sunday, July 4 at the Barboursville Soccer Complex, located on 4-H Camp Road, and the Scott Orthopedics Soccer Complex at the Huntington YMCA Kennedy Center.

Friday

All day, Preliminary games, Barboursville Soccer Complex and Huntington YMCA Kennedy Center

Saturday

All day, Preliminary games, Barboursville Soccer Complex and Huntington YMCA Kennedy Center

Sunday

All day, Preliminary games, Barboursville Soccer Complex and Huntington YMCA Kennedy Center

Monday

TBA, Semifinal games, Barboursville Soccer Complex

Tuesday

TBA, Championship games, Barboursville Soccer Complex

Who's coming?

US Youth Soccer State Cup champions and select runners-up from West Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware, Eastern New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York West, Pennsylvania West, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

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