Beadling Thunder claims Region I title
The Beadling Soccer Club defeated Aztec Soccer Premier, 3-1, to win the Under-17 girls’ Region I championship title at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.
Malea Fabean scored twice, once in the 15th minute and once in the 50th minute, and Maggie Scott tacked on the third tally to lift the Thunder to victory and into the national championships set for July 23-28 at the Overland Park Soccer Complex in Kansas.
This is the third Western Pennsylvania girls’ team to win the Region I event. The previous two clubs represented Beadling as well.
Additionally, the Thunder’s triumph also marked the first time a father-daughter combo won the event from the region. Arne Thomas, who coached the club with Erik Duffy, a former standout at Mt. Lebanon, won the event in 1984. His daughter, Macey, is on this year’s unit. An incoming freshman, she will play for West Virginia Wesleyan in the fall.
“While many of the players on this team are like Macey and have accepted scholarship offers from major colleges, the team’s success is built around the ‘team’ mentality first,” said Rob Fabean, the club’s media relations director.
“Every player has done things throughout the year that sets them apart from others on this team and in their age group.”
Distinguished indeed is the squad. Currently, Beadling ranks No. 3 in the U17 age group nationally by www.gotsoccer.com.
In addition to Thomas, Fabean is committed to Pitt while Maggie Scott and Katie Alexander are bound for Miami of Ohio, Lauren Kelly is signed with Winthrop, Sydney Schipani will play at Arkon and Amber Fichter agreed to a scholarship with Duquesne.
Halle Hammer of Bethel Park and Morgan Creehan from Peters Township look to lead their high school clubs back to the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs next fall, as do remaining players such as Ashly Gagliardi, Zoe Schoen, Teresa Scheiffarth, Ashley Mutkus, Trish Glavin, Mary Kate Zahorchak, Cassidy Ledonne, Coleen Brodman, Eleni Carr and Ariana Jones.
This season, Beadling competed in the USYSA National League and the Region I Premier League.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (Region I Premier League, Midwest Regional League, Southern Premier Regional League/Region III Premier League and Far West Regional League).
According to Fabean, the National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development.
In addition to recruiting opportunities, teams compete for the National League title for their gender age groups and four slots in each gender age group of the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships Finals, the oldest and most prestigious youth soccer national championships.
Additionally, says Fabean, only the Top 16 teams in the country get accepted into an age group in the National League.
While Beadling rolled up a 6-0-1 record and a championship in the Region 1 Premier League, the Thunder also amassed a 5-2-1 record against nationally ranked and championship clubs from Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio and Georgia. Among some of these prestigious squads were Tophat, Match Fit Lightning, PDA Ginga, PWSI, BRYC, Match Fit Chelsea Beat and Chelsea United, Richmond Kickers and Cleveland United.
Beadling also played in the top bracket of the CASL College Showcase, the Disney College Showcase, of which the Thunder was a finalist, and the Las Vegas College Showcase.
According to Fabean, these three tournaments are the most recognized and heavily recruited events on the girls’ side. Only the elite teams in the nation get accepted into these competitions.
To reach the nationals, Beadling won the PA-West state cup before claiming the regional title.
What contributes to the success of the team is the girls play for each other, adds Fabean.
“The mentality of the team has never been about individual accolades,” he said.
“The team is constantly challenged by playing against top teams in the country at the top events in the nation. They are afforded opportunities that most players in western Pennsylvania never have. The girls have developed a tight bond as teammates and as friends.”
When the Thunder travel to Kansas for the national finals, only one goal has been set.
“The expectations are the same as they are for every practice, game and tournament,” Fabean said. “This team will work as hard as they can for 90 minutes a game to get the result that they want.
“No matter what the drill is or whether it’s a scrimmage or a championship game, this team strives to be first. The expectations are to bring the national title back to western Pennsylvania.”