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YOUTH SOCCER

July 6, 2005
ECSTASY AND AGONY
Price experiences both as New Rochelle wins Boys U-17 title, but Albertson loses U-19 final


The New Rochelle Raiders captured the Boys U-17 title at the Region 1 championships.
The New Rochelle Raiders captured the Boys U-17 title at the Region 1 championships.
New Rochelle Raiders photo
Over a period of several hours on Tuesday, David Price experienced great joy and then disappointment as a soccer coach.

At about 10 a.m., he was at the top of the world after directing the New Rochelle Raiders to the Boys Under-17 championship at the Region 1 championship in Virginia Beach, Va.

Some two hours later, however, Price found himself on the other side of the spectrum as the losing coach of the Albertson Red Storm Clash, which lost in the Boys U-19 final.

Both games were decided by 1-0 scores.

Price admitted he had mixed emotions about his rollercoaster morning.

"It was a high and a low," he said.

"When you win in Region 1, it's a big deal in youth soccer. When we won it with five minutes to go, it was a big deal.

"The U-17's performed great. It was a fantastic day for them. It was a shame they (the Clash) couldn't get the other.

"It deflated me. But you have to look at the bright side -- two regional finalists."

Indeed. In a rare occurrence at the regionals, if not a first, Price guided two teams in a championship game.

First up were the Raiders, who had won several Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association State Cup titles, but never tasted championship glory or victory at the regionals until they beat Juventus, the Massachusetts champions, on Tuesday.

"We did an exceptional job sticking to our game plan," Price said. "We've gone outside of it. We stuck to it. They performed marvelously."

It appeared the game was heading for extra time until Kevin Mesa connected on a 20-yard free kick around the penalty arc in the 86th minute.

"He didn't have that much pace it on," Price said. "It had placement."

The final four minutes were played in the New Rochelle end as Juventus desperately tried to equalize.

"They're big and physical," Price said. "They sent crosses into the box. We dealt with it."

With one mission accomplished at Hampton Roads Field No. 8, Price walked over to Field No. 6 to try to complete a unique and rare double with the Clash.

The Clash had won back-to-back regional crowns and was trying to qualify for its third consecutive berth at the U.S. Youth Soccer Association nationals in Orlando, Fla.

It wasn't meant to be.

"We came out flat," Price said. "The U-18's (championship team from last year) always prided themselves on being prepared and tenacious. We didn't do that and we got punished."

Albertson got punished about 36 minutes into the match when Reston RFC’s Garth Juckem scored the lone goal of the match for the Virginia side.

"They deserved it," Price said. "They were looking to score. . . . Their backs were solid. Fair play to them."

The Clash wasn't helped by injuries to several key players, including national youth defender Pavelid Castaneda and center back John Pardini (separated shoulder).

"We were depleted with numbers," Price said. "John was playing very well. It was a huge loss for us."

"We got back in the second half, had a little success. But we couldn't get it going."

After falling short at the nationals last season, Price didn't know if the Clash would try to come together for another hurrah. The team did.

Now, he faces similar questions as a possible U-19 side next season. There are obstacles the entire team will attend college. However, under ENYYSA rules, U-19 teams play a much shorter tournament, usually from May through the beginning of June. So one more shot at regional and national glory is possible.

"I don't know," Price said. "It's up to the players. It's difficult with all the kids in college. If they wanted to (play in 2006), we'll have to respect that."

 
 
 
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