Freedoms U-16 team captures national crown

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If you were a member of the New York Freedoms soccer organization, odds are you had a pretty good summer.

Led by the Under-16 team that won the Y-League National Championship, the Freedoms had unparalleled success from the U-14 team up to the D3-Pro League squad.

In the Y-League national championships in Raleigh, N.C. in August, the Freedoms were represented by three teams, (U-15, U-16, U-17), more than any other club in the country.

The three teams had a combined record of 11-1-1 during the championships.

The U-16 team, coached by St. John’s men’s soccer coach Dave Masur, John Diffley, Carlos Ferrera and Chonto Herrara, didn’t allow a goal until the semifinals, when they edged the Metro FC, 2-1, after beating the California state champs, 3-0, the Chicago Magic, 2-0, and the defending national champion Atlanta Fire, 3-0.

In the final, the Freedoms crushed the Cleveland Crunch, 6-1, to capture the crown with Paul Racines leading the way with a pair of second-half goals, earning him Player of the Match honors.

Defender Bakary Soumane was named tournament MVP, leading the Freedoms to three shutouts. Also solid were keeper Tim Melia and defenders Jason Knese, Jay Kelly and Paul Racines.

Cisse Sandou netted a team-high five goals, while Edwin Montes, Dan Rabinowitz and Racines added two goals apiece.

The U-14s, coached by former St. John’s standouts Huey Ferguson and Jesse Van Saun, finished third in the Metro Division.

Coached by Ferguson, David Price and Paul Cusano, the U-15 team didn’t qualify for the semifinals because of goal differential and the U-17s, coached by Steve Cadet, missed the semifinals because of a tie with D.C. United.1

Coached by Price, in his first year at the helm, the D3-Pro League Freedoms team made the playoffs, only to lose to eventual national champion Long Island Rough Riders in penalty kicks.

The squad, in its first year up from the Premier Development League, got off to the best start (6-0) in franchise history and qualified for the U.S. Open Cup, losing at A-League power Milwaukee.

Next year the New York Freedoms will play their home games at Belson Stadium, the newly built home of St. John’s soccer.

Posted 7:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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