The Toledo Celtics are proud to announce a historic club run for the 2016 Ohio North State Cup. With our club entering only 8 teams into the competition, 5 of those teams earned their way out of group play and into the quarterfinals and beyond, with each team who lost bowing out to an eventual State Champion or finalist. Our U14 Black team finished as a State Quarterfinalist, the U12 and U18 Black both reached the State Semifinals, and both our U15 and U16 teams brought a State Championship in 2016.
“I cannot say how proud I am of all of our teams, and it is so great to see their efforts rewarded.” Director of Coaching Kirk Brazeau says. “One thing we teach our players consistently is to develop a mindset of doing more with less. Whether it may be on the field, in the classroom or the social perspective, being able to accomplish great things often comes from focus and eliminating all of the outside noise. From our viewpoint, the more you can achieve by maximizing the strengths you possess, the more effective you will be in each facet of your life.”
“This type of mentality filters throughout our club, as we may not possess some of the same luxuries that larger clubs may have available to them. However, we are still developing, teaching and producing players and teams who are able to compete and achieve the same lofty goals and expectations as our counterparts. While some may view Toledo Celtics as a smaller club, we have consistently been able maximize the abilities of our players and teams, and take great pride in our club members and their abilities. With each of our players buying into the club mantra of – Learn. Develop. Succeed. – we are now beginning to see our players set new and higher standards each day.”
“To enter a smaller number of overall teams into such a tough competition is always risky when you look at it from a results based perspective. But at Celtics, the strength of our player development model and teaching methods allows our players to understand that there is more to the success than just score lines. If you are preparing, working and training in a way that you are focused on becoming better with each touch, the in the minute results have a way of matching up with the long term development and success of our players. Through patience and work rate, both individually and collectively, our players have bought into this process, and now are beginning to reap the benefits.”
The 2016 State Cup run is one of the most successful in club history, and we are excited to say that our teams again represented Toledo Celtics and Northwest Ohio Soccer with pride and excellence.
Our U15 Black team earned their first State Championship in their first year together, going 5-0 throughout their State Cup Run and outscoring their opponents 16-2 in the process. The team had challenges at every turn, having to defeat last year’s State-Semifinalist (Team Challenger 2-1), State Finalist (Cleveland United 4-0) and defending State Champion (Pacesetter 2-0). The U15 Black have achieved a season record of 18-0-1, winning championships at the Annandale Premier Cup, Adidas Blue Chip Showcase, Ohio North State Cup Championships and having a 3rd place finish out of 72 teams at the Crossroads of America Showcase based upon goal differential. For being a first year team, this is an unprecedented run that they have achieved, and hope to continue to learn and development against an extremely tough group at the Regional Championships.
Our U16 Black team embraced the “underdog” role to make their run to a 2nd State Championship in 4 years. With ultra high work rate, they collectively willed themselves through the State tournament, and are the club soccer version of the "cardiac kids". In defying some of the longest odds, fighting through injuries to 4 starters and several different levels of adversity, the team found a way to host Ohio Norths ultimate prize. Beginning with a last minute 3-3 draw to advance out of group play against Team Challenger, the team then found themselves down 2-0 at the end of the first half to the defending state champions CSA. The team would not quit, and came back with 3 goals in the second half to win 3-2 and advance to a rematch with Team Challenger in the final. In the final game, the team defended very well, and caught some luck along the way, with Taylor Miles finding the back of the net with the game winner (1-0) with 20 minutes to go. The team has compiled a record of 15-3-3 throughout the season, while earning championships at the Annandale Premier Cup, Adidas Blue Chip Showcase and Ohio North State Cup.
The Toledo Celtics U12 Black had a great tournament run, getting stronger in each game along the way. They finished group play at 2-1, and moved onto a hard fought State Quarterfinal against group winner CFC and came away with a 4-1 to advance to the State Semifinals. In the State Semifinal, the team battled Internationals evenly throughout the game, with both teams creating limited scoring opportunities. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t bounce the boys’ way, and they ended up dropping the game, 2-0, to the eventual State Champions.
Our U18 Black team started off the season with the goal of making another strong run in State Cup, and had their ambitions set on earning a spot in the State Cup Final. The team stuck together through what can be a very tough senior year, and remained dedicated to their goals, arriving in the State Semifinals against a very familiar and strong Pacesetter team. The talent level of Northwest Ohio was on full display, as the teams traded goals in regulation to send the game to overtime at 1-1. Even with chances for both sides in the 30 minute overtime session, the game couldn’t be decided and headed to PK’s to determine who would head to the State Final. In a shootout session where both teams traded makes and misses through the first 5 shooters, the team wasn’t able to finish on the 6th shooter and came up as just short of their ultimate goal. The team ends its run with the Toledo Celtics as one of the most decorated teams in club history, and too many memories to write on one page. Out of 14 players who were on the roster with the team this year, 11 of them will continue their soccer career in college, further vindicating the work and development that they all trained so hard for.
The U14 Boys Black team earned their way through group play at 2-1, and found themselves in a match up with a very strong CSA team in the State Quarterfinals. While both teams battled and scrapped, the game couldn’t be settled with after 100 minutes and overtime, and the team headed to PK’s to settle match. While goalkeeper Alex Schraeger did his best all day to keep CSA off the board with some great saves, the team eventually fell in the PK shootout to the eventual State Finalists. In an effort that each player should be proud of, the team proved that they have a very bright future ahead of them.
Well done to all of our Toledo Celtics teams this year, you couldn’t have made your staff more proud!!!
The Toledo Celtics U15-U18 Boys Black teams wrapped up their Spring Showcase Series in very impressive fashion, earning a combined 24-8-5 record while playing against some of the top competition from US regions I, II and III. Each team grasped the challenge of competing in 3 of the country's top collegiate showcases, and understood that each game would present a different and stimulating challenge in continuing their development. The boys didn't shy away, as each team recorded at least a .500 record against some of the top clubs in the country, and an overall .716 Winning Percentage across all of our teams.
"The teams really did well to enhance their development and adapt to new and different styles of soccer, both in competition, but also in regards to tactical adjustments. Our teams played some extremely high level competition, and proved that while Toledo's soccer community may not be viewed as a large soccer market, it definitely does have some high quality talent and teams." says Director of Coaching and Head Coach Kirk Brazeau. "Each team faced significant challenges and responded in earnest, and it particularly makes me proud to see our players be rewarded for their time, effort and dedication. Not only to have our teams participating at the best levels we can, but also competing and succeeding says quite a bit about one of our club mantras - Learn. Develop. Succeed. - By exposing our players to such quality soccer, it shows that Toledo Celtics is committed to the development of our kids, not only as soccer players, but also as high character individuals. It is fantastic for the boys to be rewarded for all of their effort with positive results, and those positive results are a direct indication of our players growing on the development spectrum. I couldn't be more proud of our players, and am happy to be able to share these type of experiences with them."
The U15 Black led the way with an undefeated overall 9-0-1 record, including group championships at both the Annandale Premier Cup and Adidas Blue Chip Showcases, as well as finishing as a finalist in the Crossroads of America Showcase. In the Annandale Premier cup, the team went 4-0, keeping a clean sheet the entire weekend and outscoring their opponents from Region I 14-0. In the Crossroads of America Showcase, all teams in the U15 age group are lumped into one large flight, and the team finished 3rd out of 63 teams based upon their goal differential. In their final event, the Adidas Blue Chip Showcase, the team faced it's toughest competition to date, and responding by finishing with a 2-0-1 record against high quality teams from Region I, II and III. The boys culminated their showcase season with a gritty win over an excellent Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy team 1-0, and secured the top spot in their group with the full 3 points from the game.
The U16 Black team wrapped up their showcase series with an impressive 6-1-2 record, all the while playing against top flight competition who posed several different challenges and playing styles for the boys to adapt to. The team finished at the top of their group at the Annandale Premier Cup with a 3-0 record, finishing the weekend outscoring their opponents 13-1 along the way. In the Crossroads of America Showcase, the boys showed up slow to their first game, but responded with a win over top ranked SC Waukesha 2-0 and a hard fought 2-2 draw against MRL Premier I side, Fort Wayne Academy. At the Adidas Blue Chip showcase, the team opened with an impressive 3-0 over Indiana State semi-finalist Alliance FC, a grinding 2-1 over FC Nova, and a 1-1 draw against one of the most recognized clubs in the country, Javanon, which earned them the top spot in their group.
The U17 Black expanded their showcase footprint this year, and traveled to some new and challenging events, with this being the first time they have competed in the Annandale Premier Cup and Adidas Blue Chip showcase. The team struggled to find their identity at first, but rebounded to secure a 4-4-1 record over the three events. The 17's beat a solid SJEB Red team from New Jersey at Annandale Premier Cup, and at Crossroads, they opened with a draw against Indiana state semifinalist Three Lions Elite, and ended their weekend with a solid win over Woodbury Galaxy from Minnesota. The team saved their best for last however, as they opened their final showcase with a good 2-0 win over Kentucky state semifinalist United 96 FC, and a resounding 5-0 win over Cincinnati CUP Black in the second game. The team was shorthanded the next morning and dropped a tough result to a very good Chicago Inferno team in their last game, but still improved in each showcase, both with their development and style of play, but also their results.
The U18 Black team came into their final season together understanding that life often gets in the way as players careers turn into the senior spring season, so being able to continue their success would be difficult as many players would need to be plugged in due to conflicts. However, the team responded extremely well and continued the impressive pedigree along the way, finishing at 5-3-1 across their showcase games. In the Annandale Premier Cup, the team went undefeated against region I opponents, going 2-0-1 and missing out on top spot in their group due to goal differential. At Crossroads, the team opened the weekend going 2-0 and shutting out their opponents 5-0 along the way before eventually running out of gas and bodies in the last game that was tied 1-1 until the final 10 minutes. At the Blue Chip Showcase, the boys faced their biggest challenge yet, as they had only 6 of their regular team available due to conflicts, but found a way to shut out a very good Northville Rush team 2-0 in their first game. The team would go on to drop a couple of hard fought matches that they were either or tied in or leading in the last ten minutes. All in all, the team has worked hard to continue to get impressive results and prepare themselves for their collegiate careers next year.
Over the weekend, 10 of our Toledo Celtics team traveled to Columbus Ohio for the Club Ohio Nike Challenge Cup, and came away with some great results. Both our U10 Black and U10 Green teams came away with championships in their respective divisions, while the U12 Black and U12 Green teams finished as finalists for their flights.
Club C.E.O Lee Aliakbar says "Our boys did a good job of working in each game for the best results they could, and many of them were rewarded appropriately for their hard work. Soccer is a very fickle game, and the ball can bounce any way, but our boys did us proud by trying to implement and play the game as soccer players instead of just focusing on athletic ability."
Director of Coaching Kirk Brazeau feels that "It is great to see our teams performing at a high level, and see a high success rate for the amount of teams participating. At Celtics, we make sure to try and place our teams in the strongest divisions relative to their abilities, because in order be highly successful, you must play against teams that will challenge you game in and game out. It is not appropriate and frankly not good for the development of our players to play in divisions just to ensure results. It has to be about the player development long term in comparison to in the moment results, and our teams were challenged each game."
The staff is very proud of the hard work that all of the teams put in this weekend, and we know that you carry the Toledo Celtics flag proudly for us! Well done boys!
Congratulations to Anthony Pacewicz, who is a member of our U14 Black team, or his invitation to train at the 2003 age group United States Soccer Training Session this Spring.
It's a fantastic honor for Anthony, and he has worked very hard and is well deserving of this opportunity.
Well done Anthony, we know that you will represent yourself and Toledo Celtics very well!
The Toledo Celtics U15 through U18 teams traveled down to the prestigious Annandale Premier Cup over the weekend and returned with impressive results. In their first foray into a Region 1 competition, the 4 teams compiled a combined record of 10-2-1 on the weekend, with 3 out of the 4 team finishing at the top of their respective groups!
The newly formed U15 Black team went 4-0 to earn their first showcase championship together, while the U16 Black team topped their division with a perfect 3-0 record. The U18 Black team also had a very solid showing, finishing at the top of their group with an undefeated 2-0-1 record.
Each team proved that they belong amongst some of the best competition in the country, and made us all very proud at Toledo Celtics!