Eufaula Parks and Recreation capped one of its most successful youth soccer seasons at the 2019 ARPA State Soccer Tournament Nov. 23-24 at Dothan’s Westgate Park Soccer Complex.
The Eufaula 19U All-Star team, comprised of current Eufaula High School players and alumni as well as others, dominated the field on Saturday at Northcutt Field. Eufaula opened tournament play with a convincing 7-1 win against host Dothan. James Odom scored two goals for the Eufaula All-Stars who jumped out to a commanding 4-0 lead at intermission. Uzie Gonzalez, Job Rodriguez-Ku, Garrett Hines, Edgar Dimas, and Ethan Vernon added goals for Eufaula. Josh Little worked a scoreless first half and much of the second half in goal as the Eufaula keeper.
Odom added three more goals in the championship game against Troy, as Eufaula jumped on the Troy All-Stars from the outset and never looked back on their way to claiming the State Title 5-1. Hines and Gonzalez each added goals for Eufaula. The 19U team was comprised of many of the same players who won the 2017 16U ARPA State Soccer Championship also coached by Billy McClendon.
“This is a great group of young people on and off the field,” McClendon said. “It’s always a pleasure to work with this group. They are very talented and coachable.” The team was assisted by Travis Lawson, a former EPR soccer standout.
Meanwhile, the Eufaula 14U All-Stars opened the State Tournament with an impressive 4-1 win over Troy on Saturday. Mario Martinez scored twice and Malex Comer added a goal in the win. In a game played through a steady rain, Boaz scored six times in the second half to break open a close game to win 8-1 over Eufaula. Comer’s skillful header accounted for Eufaula’s only goal with less than a minute remaining in the opening half.
On Sunday, the Eufaula 14U squad took it on the chin 12-0 in a loss to Dothan. However, they battled back against Prattville in their last game of pool play before falling 4-3. Martinez scored twice in the finale, while Nehemias Salas also scored for Eufaula. The team was honored following the tournament with the highly respected ARPA State Sportsmanship Trophy.
Both the Eufaula 12U All-Stars and 8U All-Stars qualified for the State Tournament with runner-up finishes in District 6 Tournament play earlier in November.
The 12U All-Stars faced a difficult challenge, dropping a 10-0 loss, to a highly touted Dothan squad in the first game at State. However, the 12U All-Stars battled back before losing a tough 4-3 defeat to Athens in game two. Cooper Wingate scored twice for Eufaula, while Charly Medina Calixtro also scored.
Eufaula’s 8U All-Stars faced a similar daunting task as the 12U Eufaula team in their opening game and never got on track falling 4-0 to Dothan. Eufaula, however, was within the last minute of forcing a shootout in game two against Athens before losing on a penalty kick 2-1 in the last few seconds. Mishael Martinez scored for Eufaula to tie the game at 1-all. Brayden Gibson saved numerous shots on goal as the Eufaula keeper.