Ponte Vedra Storm U-16 Girls Win Region III Championship and Make History!

The Ponte Vedra U-16 Girls Storm Team

Left to Right

Top Row:
Head Coach: Luis Torres, Morgan Brian, Nicole White, McKenzie Ryan, Sarah Voigt, Allie Gerry, Noel Crane, Carson Pickett, Tyler Law, Madeline Forrestel, Asst. Coach: Mike Pickett
Middle Row:
Theresa Diederich, Ansley Morgan, Annie Bobbitt, Alli Brashear, Kaili Torres
Bottom Row:
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 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.