By Allen Reitz
The Charlestown boys 9-11 grade Division 1 soccer team are this year’s Middlesex Youth Soccer League (MYSL) champions, beating a tough Wilmington team 2-0 this past Sunday in the final game hosted in Waltham.
The Charlestown boys were seeded last (4th) in the playoffs and had to win against the top seed, Malden, before claiming the victory against Wilmington. The victory qualifies them for a coveted spot in the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOCs), which takes place this coming weekend.
The Townies will be playing other champions from different leagues throughout the state to vie for the trophy and the right to say that the team is the best in the state in that age group. While a few teams have qualified for MTOCs, Charlestown Youth Soccer League has never had a team that won the tournament.
In the final game, both Wilmington and Charlestown started out at a fast pace, both defending well against either team’s press. The day was very hot and substitutions were called in early. The score was 0-0 after the first half, with both teams creating opportunities but nothing hitting the back of the net. In the beginning of the second half, Wilmington got caught on their heels with a surprisingly fast Will Santoro scoring off a feed from Charlie Reitz, 1-0. Minutes later, Franklin Prudencio got the Charlestown crowd cheering, not only with his quick footwork but with his head as well, scoring a bouncing header just over the goalies’ gloved hand. The 2-0 score took what little energy Wilmington had left and the game ended with Charlestown playing a possession game to wind down the clock.
After the game, Head Coach Lu Gomes commented, “I am extremely proud of these boys. They play with determination, grit and sense of purpose and they demonstrate good character on and off the pitch.”
Next stop, Lancaster, MA, home of the MTOCs. Charlestown will be playing South Coast on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. and Nashoba Valley at 11:40 a.m.. If they do well they move on to the semi-finals.