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!