By Peter Jaffe
Charlestown Youth Soccer’s 9-11 grade boys Division 1 team went further than any previous Charlestown Youth Soccer Association (CYSA) team, and took a second place finish in the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOC) held this past weekend at the Massachusetts Youth Soccer complex in Lancaster.
Charlestown represented the Middlesex Youth Soccer League (MYSL) after winning the MYSL championships on June 20th, and competed this past weekend against the winners of each of the seven other youth soccer leagues throughout the state.
Over Friday June 25 and Saturday June 26, the Charlestown team played three round robin seeding games, resulting in a 2-0 win against Littleton (of the Nashoba Valley Youth Soccer League) and two 0-0 ties against Dartmouth (of the South Coast Soccer League) and North Andover (of the Essex County Youth Soccer Association and frequent MTOC champs). Henry Poynter and William McDonald were forces to be reckoned with at defensive mid, with Trevor McCormack and Max Amadeo supporting on the sides, Liam Finn running down any breakaways, and Tommy Williamson at sweeper shutting down anything that managed to sneak through. Some clutch saves between Alec Klacko and Teddy Chisholm in goal resulted in Charlestown holding a clean slate. Ranked 2nd coming out of the seeding round, Charlestown faced off Sunday morning against the top ranked team from the second bracket, Marshfield of the Coastal Youth Soccer League.
Despite having a roster of 20, various conflicting commitments resulted in Charlestown fielding a 12 player team against Marshfield’s 21. With Charlestown’s single sub giving some of our players brief respites on the sideline, our team watched as Marshfield swapped out their entire field of players every 10 minutes, as if they were running hockey line changes. Charlestown was moving the ball well, with Luke Sullivan and Charlie Reitz helping set up several opportunities. Deep into the second half, Sean Jaffe carried the ball down the right side and struck a solid floated cross over the heads of 2 Marshfield defenders, with Franklin Prudencio in perfect position to receive near the back post and decisively put a clean header into the back of the net. With a 1-0 lead, and despite Marshfield’s constant churn of fresh legs, the Charlestown squad and defensive line held strong to secure a spot in the finals.
With a 40 minute break prior to kickoff of the finals, Charlestown saw one player head off for a family commitment, resulting in not having any subs when the whistle blew to kick off the finals against North Andover’s seven-player bench. Despite weary legs and many calf and thigh cramps, the Charlestown team held strong and were back to having one sub after a player arrived part way through the first half. Early in the second half, Anthony Avalos of Charlestown found the back of the net, only to have the goal retracted due to a questionable offsides call. Undeterred, Charlestown held strong, and Franklin, with his crazy foot skills, created a breakaway down the left side of the field and decisively brought Charlestown up 1-0, putting a MTOC win in our sights. Unfortunately, a subsequent well placed corner kick by North Andover tied up the game at 1-1. Both teams fought to pull ahead prior to the final whistle. However, following overtime play, the score remained tied. Both teams lined up for kicks from the penalty mark to decide the outcome of the game by a penalty shoot-out. While Charlestown did not come away with the win, a more than respectable second place finish places the Spring 2021 Charlestown Boys grade 9-11 team in the CYSA history books as the team to have made it the furthest in this elite culminating end of season tournament. Coaches are hoping to see the team comes back together again next Spring to compete in the grade 12+ age group.
All players on the team (and their parents) should be very proud of the sportsmanship and high caliber of play they displayed all season. Congratulations Max Amadeo, Anthony Avalos, Nick Carlson, Teddy Chisholm, Christopher Egan, Liam Finn, Rian Finn, Niccolo Imbrogiano, Sean Jaffe, Sam King, Alec Klacko, Trevor McCormack, William McDonald, Henry Poynter, Franklin Prudencio, Charlie Reitz, Sam Ringrose, Will Santoro, Luke Sullivan, and Tommy Williamson. And extra thanks to Luis Docanto for dedicating his time and commitment to coaching the team this season, and being a great role model for our players.