Team Evanston Soccer Club took home its first state championship on May 20. The U16 premier boys squad defeated FCX South 3-0 in the finals of the Illinois Youth Squad Association State Cup.
While the team started off slow, the group gained second wind during the second half and rallied. Despite the hot weather – it was 90 degrees – Team Evanston managed to score all three of their goals after the first quarter.
Coach Isaac Moushi and Abou Cissokho made several key adjustments prior to the half. Qudus Lawal managed to break through on a penalty kick and score in the 48th minute. Lawall is Team Evanston’s leading scorer and the IHSA player of the year.
At the 60 minute mark, with Team Evanston dominating possession, midfielder Giovanni Garcia put the club up 2-0 with a stunning top spin ball from 25 yards out over the outstretched arms of the FCX keeper, and dropping just below the crossbar. The game was safely put away when Aaron Stone hammered in the final goal.
In the prior day's thrilling semifinal, Campton United (#4 in Illinois, #5 in USYSA Region II) put the Evanston side on its heels by running out to a 2-0 halftime lead that threatened to become a one-sided affair but for the stabilizing insertion of Morales, Hugh Ferguson, and Gus Fleps, who collectively stood up a physical and pressing Campton midfield.
Their settling presence offset the mid-game loss of left side defending stalwart Don Sirivat, who sustained a sprained ankle. Despite being down, the team kept its composure and reasserted Evanston's possession after the break. The squad clawed their way to within striking distance with a goal by Jonathan Garcia off of a precision feed into the box by striker
Center midfielders George Moushi and Gio Garcia effectively took up residence from about 25 yards out. Niles North student and Team Evanston goalkeeper also had a big game with a number of cat-like saves.
Road to Team Evanston’s Championship Season –
The squad began their successful State Cup run with decisive victories against Crystal Lake in the Round of 16, by a tally of 7-1, and in the quarterfinals over Tri-Cities Soccer Association (TCSA), by a score of 6-2 (with scores from Lawal, Stone, Jonathan Garcia, Peia and Cappuccitti).
The title means that Team Evanston has the honor of representing the State of Illinois in the US Youth Soccer Region II tournament in Saginaw, Michigan from June 23 to 27th, by which time they expect the return of two players rehabbing from injuries - midfielder Christian Porras and defender Colin Austria.
The squad celebrated their amazing State Cup run by winning the Northern Illinois Soccer League (NISL) U16 Premiership 2 title Monday night by knocking Galaxy SC 95/96 off their first place perch in the last game of the season with a 7-1 trouncing punctuated by a hat trick by John Cappuccitti and two from Robert Peia. The boys finished the NISL regular season with a record of 7-0-1 and a goal differential of 33 GF - 5 GA.
The squad next heads to Saginaw, MI for the USYSA Region 2 Tournament June 23-27, 2012.
The 2011-12 Team Evanston U16 Boys Premier Squad is:
Landon Albert - Park City, IL
Colin Austria - Niles North HS
John Cappuccitti - Hersey HS
Hugh Ferguson - Northside College Prep
Gus Fleps - ETHS
Giovanni Garcia - Elk Grove HS
Jonathan Garcia - Walter Payton College Prep
Daniel Gramer - Hersey HS
Will Jackson - Walter Payton College Prep
Timothy Kenney - ETHS
Eddie Kim - Niles North HS
Qudus Lawal - Mather HS
Brandon Morales - Elk Grove HS
George Moushi - New Trier
Cobi Ortega - ETHS
Robert Peia - Lane Tech College Prep
Cristian Porras - Highland Park HS
Don Sirivat - New Trier
Aaron Stone - ETHS
Irvin Velazquez - Hersey
The successes of the U16 Premier Boys are just the latest manifestation of Team Evanston as a rising program in Northern Illinois club soccer:
- TE U8 Girls Orange
Champions - Grove United at the Memorial Day Shootout
- TE U11 Girls Blue
Champions - Grove United Memorial Day Shootout
- TE U11 Boys Orange
Champions - 2012 Illinois FC (LISC) Spring Invite
- TE U12 (99) Boys Orange
Ranked #7 in Illinois and #19 in USYS Region II
Finalists - 2012 Libertyville Cup
Champions - 2011 SLSG Fall Classic
Champions - 2011 Palatine Celtic Cup
- TE U14 Girls Premier
Ranked #15 in Illinois (ahead of traditional club powerhouses SASA, CFJ and SFV)
Champions - 2011Palatine Celtic Cup
Champions 2011 SLSG Fall Class
- TE U14 Boys Premier
Semifinalists - Grove United Memorial Day Shootout
- TE U15 Boys Premier:
Ranked #16 in Illinois
Champions - 2012 Las Vegas Mayors Cup International Showcase
Finalists 2012 FC Delco Players Cup Tournament (Philadelphia, PA)
2d place regular season finish in the NISL Premiership 2 that included victories over #7 Galaxy SC and #21 R-B United SC
- TE U16 Boys Select:
Ranked #21 in Illinois
Finalists - 2012 Las Vegas Mayors Cup International Showcase telemundo division.
- TE U16 Boys Premier
Ranked #5 in Illinois and #13 in USYSA Region 2 (pre-State Cup ranking)
Champions - 2012 IYSA State Cup
Finalists - FC Delco Players Cup (Philadelphia, PA)
Champions - 2012 Puma Champions Cup College Showcase (Rockford, IL)
Finalists - 2012 SLSG Spring Showcase (St. Louis, MO).