Seventeen teams from Northern and Central California competed over two weekends in December and El Dorado County’s Prospector Sparks U11 girls team became champions at this year’s Assocation Cup.
Hosted at Cherry Island near Sacramento, the Association Cup was the final tournament of the Sparks showcase season.
The Sparks won all of the team’s six games with five shutouts. Sparks only gave up two goals the entire tournament. On the first weekend, game 1 got the girls pumped with a 4-0 victory over Petaluma’s Storm then a 3-0 win over San Francisco’s Viking SFVSC. Heading into day two and single elimination brackets, the Sparks continued the shut-out momentum with another 3-0 score achieved against Clovis’ Crossfire, advancing Sparks to the quarterfinals the following weekend. At game four the Sparks defeated their opponent Visalia’s Galaxy 3-0, placing them in the semi-final round. This match proved to be a tough one against Mission’s MYSL Strikers. Both teams battled back and forth with goals and were tied 2-2 within the last two minutes of the game. Newest Spark Katie Clark scored the winning goal sending the girls into the championship.
The championship game was played against Pacifica United SC Strikers, whose season record prior to Association cup was 22-0-0. The championship game’s only goal was scored from a penalty kick taken by Kendel Gisin within the first 10 minutes of the game. The remaining 50 minutes of the game were an intense battle fought between both teams.
The ball spent a majority of the time in the offensive half of the field due to the outstanding efforts of midfielders Luci Gulbransen, Kendall Hoffman, Kendel Gisin and Grace Stiveson as well as strikers Abby Morgado and Julin Kenison. Despite those efforts, several potential breakaways were thwarted by the strong defensive line — Lacy Smith, Ainsley Smith, and Sarah Cox. Sparks’ keeper Juliet Dias had an incredible game and tournament with several critical saves in the goal box shutting out the Strikers and preventing an equalizing goal. Several incredible shots by Abby Morgado, Grace Stiveson and Kendel Gisin were saved by the Strikers keeper.
The Sparks finished the season with a 30-5-4 record. They were one point shy of winning their league, but still led in overal goal differentials. In addition to the Association Cup, Sparks had first place finishes at Independence Cup and HalloweenFest, and were silver finalists in Land Park Cup and Santa Cruz.
Prospector Soccer Club serves as one of the California Youth Soccer Association Clubs in El Dorado County. Tryouts will held in the middle of February. To learn more about visit prospector.org.