December 5, 2007 > FC Eagles complete perfect season
FC Eagles complete perfect season
By Selina Yuen
Photos By Courtesy of Selina Yuen
The FC Fremont U10 Girls Eagles headed into uncharted waters when they traveled to play in the 26th Annual Crossroads Invitational during the weekend of Nov. 17. The Eagles, playing in the FC Fremont's Division IV House League with a regular season record of 16-0, had never traveled beyond the city limits for a soccer game. With their first place finish at FC Fremont Directors Cup, the undefeated Eagles earned the right to represent Fremont in the Dublin United Soccer League's Crossroads Invitational, a District III CYSA Tournament. There, the Eagles would face the top teams from Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Newark, Pleasanton, and San Ramon in round robin play.
Play began Saturday morning, where the Eagles faced off against the Cheetah Girls from neighboring Newark. The Eagles came into the game nervous, but once the Eagles scored in the opening minutes of the game, the girls' confidence rose. The Eagles went into the half with a 4-0 lead. The physical Cheetah Girls were able to score once in the second half, but the Eagles prevailed, 4-1.
Darkness soon approached as the Eagles started a delayed second game of the tournament late Saturday afternoon against the Jaguars of Pleasanton. The Eagles, who rely on their offensive speed, controlled passing and booming defensive kicks, were able to execute as they had all season long, shutting down the Jaguars, 4-0. With the two wins under their belt, Coach Erwin Yuen reminded the 9 & 10 year old girls that they still needed to play two more games to reach their goal.
The conditions on Sunday morning were unlike that of the previous day, with a soggy field and the fog still lingering. The Eagles faced the favored Dublin Daring Devils on their home field. The Daring Devils heavily covered several players of the Eagles offensive front, but the Eagles stuck to their game plan of creating passing lanes, finding the open player, and executing the pass to enable goal shots. The Eagles defensive line held strong, attacking the ball and forcing it back into the opponent's side of the field the majority of the game. When the fog had cleared, the Eagles were victorious, 4-0.
As a result of the three wins and a total of 29 points in tournament scoring, the Eagles advanced to the championship game against the Danville Mustang Dynamites. Coach Yuen and Assistant Coaches, Glenn Lee and Frank Wong, devised a different opening game plan to combat the Dynamites' strong kick offs by starting one of the Eagles' offensive front four as a midfielder to intercept any deep kickoffs before returning to the half back position. Their strategic plan enabled the Eagles to take control of the ball, driving it back into the Dynamites half of the field. The Eagles played relentlessly and when the game was over, the Eagles were the U10 Girls Champions at the Crossroads Invitational, defeating the Dynamites, 5-0.
Coach Yuen said the team raised their level of play with each game, playing the best soccer he had seen from the team all season. The Eagles offensive front four of Evalina Chinn, Alyson Lee, Kirsten Wong and Haley Yuen were on top of their game, playing a fast-paced, disciplined game of passing and shooting. The strong kicks of Eesha Bemra, Allison Chen, and Aashna Pandya, the Eagles' starting fullbacks, rarely allowed the ball to travel into the Eagles' backfield. On the rare occasions that the ball did get through, goalie Jasmine Patel was able to direct the defense, moving within the box to retrieve the ball before the opposing teams' offense could set up, as did Ms. Pandya, the Eagles' backup goalie.
Just as important as the starters were the Eagles' bench, consisting of Leah Daniel, Laurette Hanna, Aashna Mehta, and Samah Shaiq. The strength and ability of these players was instrumental in allowing the Eagles coaches to substitute them into the game with adjustments without sacrificing the high level of play. The hard work that was put into their practices and games throughout the season was the key to their ability to play as a unit, as opposed to individuals on the soccer field. The Eagles' 2007 perfect season was truly a team effort.