Mountain WFC U-16 Boys are 2008 USL Super Y-League North American champions after a 2-0 victory over TSF Academy in the final on Tuesday.
Looking for their fifth-straight win in the finals at the Ed Radice Park Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Burnaby's Alex Yoon gave Les Krivak's side a halftime lead before Port Moody's Sasha Vukovic sealed the title with a second-half penalty. The win is Mountain's first-ever Super Y-League championship in only their second year as a Vancouver Whitecaps FC and BCSA affiliate club, and the second Super Y title for the Whitecaps since the 2004 season. That year, the Whitecaps U-13 Boys were crowned North American champions.
With players and parents from other Mountain teams cheering on the U-16 Boys in the final, the Lower Mainland-based team enjoyed a good start to the final versus their opponents from New Jersey, as the significance of the match had little impact on the performance of Krivak's youngsters. In fact, Mountain took a 1-0 lead into the break, as good combination play from a throw-in allowed substitute Yoon to get in behind the TSF Academy backline before slotting the ball into the back of the net.
A goal behind, TSF Academy pressed forward soon after the restart, as they searched for a way back into the contest. Mountain, however, remained resolute in their defending and were eventually rewarded with a crucial second goal. Yoon got on the end of a cross in the TSF Academy box before playing the ball off of an opponent's hand to earn Mountain a penalty. Vukovic stepped up to convert the spot kick and confirm Mountain's championship.
Speaking after Tuesday's final, Krivak felt the team's confidence grew with every win they claimed over the past weekend. "We knew we had a chance of success because the squad is a tight-knit group," he told whitecapsfc.com. "However, I thought the boys believed we could win the title after the first two games. We knew we had lots of quality up front and the ability to score lots of goals. Our only concern, however, was with our defensive backline, as we had some injuries in that area before the tournament. Even though we had only one training session to work on our defensive shape before the finals, we did very well in recording four clean sheets."
Krivak, who also serves as an assistant coach in the Whitecaps Prospects program and as a coach at Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club, was thoroughly delighted for his players' success. "I'm really happy for the boys, as they really earned what they have achieved," he said. "I'm proud to be part of Mountain WFC this year and to have been selected as coach of this team. From the first day, the team was very professional and never caused any sort of trouble. We received plenty of compliments from those that watched us play down here in Florida, especially as to how we carried ourselves as a team and as individuals."
The squad in Florida included three members of the Whitecaps Delta Prospects Academy. They are North Delta goalkeeper Toscanny Pandu-Oesman, Surrey defender Kyle Knees, and New Westminster midfielder Nolan Moore.
Mountain's road to the championship could not have been more perfect, as the U-16 Boys claimed wins in all five of their matches in Florida. Drawn in Group B, Krivak's side started with a 3-0 victory over Northern Virginia Royals on Friday before two goals by Yoon led Mountain to another 3-0 result - this time against Florida's Schulz Academy on Saturday. Their place in the semifinals was confirmed when they defeated Pennsylvania's Super Nova FC 4-3 in an entertaining contest on Sunday. Mountain then reached the final with a 1-0 victory over another undefeated side in California's CZ Elite Soccer on Monday, with striker Matthias Kempe heading home the winning goal.
It was during the summer that Krivak's squad earned their November trip to Florida, as they finished top of the U-16 Boys Pacific Northwest division with a record of 7-2-1. They edged Abbotsford Mariners by two points in the standings, having scored a total of 31 goals during the course of their 10-match regular season schedule. The division also included Whitecaps and BCSA affiliate Coastal WFC, Thompson Okanagan (now Whitecaps and BCSA affiliate club Okanagan WFC), Washington Crossfire, and Yakima Reds.
The Whitecaps wish to congratulate Mountain U-16 Boys and their coaching staff on being crowned North American champions, as well as Coastal WFC, Mountain WFC, and Surrey WFC on their 2008 Super Y-League campaigns.
Mountain WFC U-16 Boys - starting line-up v TSF Academy
22.Toscanny Pandu-Oesman; 17.Kyle Knees, 19.Denny Serifovic, 20.Paul Clerc, 18.Julian Cantarutti; 4.Alex Hoffer, 6.Matthias Kempe, 7.Mladen Ljumovik, 9.Nolan Moore; 8.Sasha Vukovic, 16.Blake van Blerk
Substitutes: Matteo Agnoloni, Skyler Causey, Martin Eston, Paul Piche, Adam Staschuck, Yeo (Alex) Yoon
Injured: Giordan Payne
MOUNTAIN WFC U-16 BOYS - COACHES & STAFFHead Coach: Les Krivak
Assistant Coach: Rob Mazzarolo (regular season)
Assistant Coach: Adam Day (Super Y Finals)
Team Manager: Kerry Schoncite (regular season)
Team Manager: Daniel van Blerk (Super Y Finals)
Mountain WFC General Manager: Connie Penman
The team also received important contributions from five players during the regular season that did not make the trip to the finals. They are Steve Fronzo, Ajay Gill, Will Hough, Alton Messado, and Garret Sanvido.
Click here to view our 2008 Super Y-League Finals results page.