Ponte Vedra Storm U-16 Girls Win Region
III Championship and Make History!
The Ponte Vedra U-16 Girls Storm Team
Left to Right
Head Coach: Luis Torres,
Morgan Brian, Nicole White, McKenzie Ryan,
Voigt, Allie Gerry, Noel Crane, Carson Pickett, Tyler Law, Madeline Forrestel, Asst. Coach: Mike Pickett
Theresa Diederich, Ansley Morgan, Annie Bobbitt, Alli Brashear,
Brooke O’Hare, Madison Hartley, Gabby Ragazzo
PONTE VEDRA, FL; June 26, 2009 – The Ponte Vedra Storm under
16 Girls soccer team made history yesterday in Dallas, Texas defeating the
Georgia state champions 2-0 to claim the title of Region III Champions. That
makes the Ponte Vedra Storm the first team in North Florida to ever win a
Regional Championship, and to have earned the right to represent Florida in
the National Championships on July 21-26 in Lancaster, MA. Just recently in
May, the Storm won the Florida State Cup Championship which is the first leg
of the U.S. Youth National Championship Series. The Southern Regionals is
the second leg of the series and it is where all 12 of the State champions
meet to see who will be the best in the region and represent those states at
Nationals which is the third and final leg of the series. “There are over
350 premier level teams that start out every March at the state Cup level
and only one goes to Nationals. It is a very difficult thing to do and
something that the girls should be very proud of and extremely excited
about,” said Head Coach, Luis Torres.
The Storm blew into Dallas early on July 17th, where they visited a local
hospital (Medical City Dallas, home of the World Craniofacial Center
www.worldcf.org) to help cheer up some of the young patients in the
hospital. It was a great way for the girls to share their energy, their
talents and their hearts. They also left the hospital and the kids with an
array of toys that they had purchased themselves for this special trip.
“These girls are amazing people, as well as great soccer players. Everyone
knows their talent on the soccer field but this is a side of them that I get
to see more often than most people, and it’s why I always consider myself
incredibly blessed to be coaching this team,” said Torres.
One special moment came when the girls met a young four year old boy who has
been fighting neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer. The boy and his brothers
love soccer, and the girls took turns playing with him and letting him score
goals on them. When we were about to leave, one of our players gave him a
team wrist band, so he in return took off his own wristband and gave it to
that player along with hugs for the entire team.
“I really believe that the girls were truly inspired and motivated by their
visit to Medical City Dallas and it is an experience they will never forget.
As a coach, I believe it was the most important thing we’ve done all year,
and I believe that the lesson in giving back has put a lot of things in
perspective for our team,” added Torres.
The tournament then began on the 19th and the Storm went on to win 5 out of
the 6 games with 5 straight shutouts outscoring their opponents 14-0. They
had to beat 4 state champions to claim the championship. It is recognized as
one of the toughest tournaments in youth soccer to win with 16 teams
representing the best of 12 states in the Southern Region. The Storm played
6 games in 6 days in temperatures that at times reached 106 degrees, but the
girls were very focused, never even mentioning the weather.
Before leaving Dallas, the girls all signed a ball and left one of their
gold medals for the young boy they met at the hospital. “I am obviously
extremely proud of these incredible young ladies, what they have done has
never before been done in North Florida soccer history. The Storm will now
focus on getting ready to play in their first-ever, National Championship
tournament in July. The girls are hoping to play well and bring that cup
home to Florida,” added Torres.