Written by Gregory Giaconelli, Farmingdale@AntonNews.com Friday, 16 August 2013 00:00
They may be young, but these guys got something to prove. The Boys U-15 Dix Hills Elite of the Long Island Junior Soccer League placed second in the National Championship at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Tournament on July 27 in Overland Park, Kansas.
The boys, led by captain and center back Joseph DeStefano and mid-fielder Michael Sclafani, finished second in the U.S. Youth Soccer National League and qualified to the championship as one of the top two teams in their division. Heading into this tournament, the boys had the task of competing in three must win games within their group in a span of six days. They went undefeated and set their eyes on the ultimate prize.
“You had to play your game in every game,” said Sclafani of Farmingdale, who scored the game winner in the semi-final match. The main reason for getting this far was the team chemistry and experience these kids bring together on the field. “We’ve been together for so long; we stick together like brothers,” said added.
Despite coming up short to Santa Barbara SC White from California in the championship round, DeStefano is grateful to compete in the tournament that showcased the best of the best nationwide. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us,” said DeStefano. “We all worked hard and never had the chance to play against teams across the country.”
This group had traveled a lot and played in other tournaments in North Carolina and Las Vegas prior to clinching a spot in the National Championship, but the heart of this team comes from hard work and training. They have been training for four to five weeks prior to Kansas to get in shape and they worked on building up their running. “The boy’s hard work is what got them this far,” said Coach Dominic Casciato. “It was a great experience for the kids playing against some of the best teams in the country; it was something to be proud of.”
The Dix Hills Elite had plenty to be proud of as they are one of two New York teams from the Long Island Junior Soccer League along with the Smithtown Arsenal Under 16 Boys to advance to the national championship game for the first time in 13 years. As long as these kids continue to play together, work hard and have fun together, they will be a fun team to watch next year and beyond.