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Friday, June 15, 2012
Region IV U17s: Idaho team ready for test

By Chris Ackels

Eric Simmonsen knows his Super Nova team might get overlooked. Idaho doesn’t exactly have the soccer reputation of Southern California or Arizona. And the trip to the President’s Cup last summer might have some folks thinking this team won’t compete at the highest level.

“It gives us kind of an underdog feeling,” says Simmonsen. “We’re out to prove ourselves every time we step onto the field.”

But it wouldn’t be wise to gloss over the Idaho squad.

After they suffered a narrow defeat in last year’s State Cup final, Super Nova went on to win the Region IV President’s Cup, then win the National President’s Cup a few weeks later. And though it may seem like a consolation prize, Simmonsen says the experience of playing at national events was important for this team.

“We’ve developed a huge amount of trust, and this team knows how to focus,” says Simmonsen.

After winning the President’s Cup last year, Super Nova went on to play in the finals of Surf Cup. They lost in penalty kicks – the same way they had lost earlier in the State Cup.

“It was a letdown,” admits Simmonsen, “but getting re-grouped and re-focused was important. They’ve developed a very positive mindset, and with that they’ve really moved forward.”

He says it’s a team that doesn’t rely on one key player, and they’ve made it a habit of theirs to adapt to different styles of play. It’s a team that can run with you, but they can also slow things down.They can play the possession game and keep things on the ground. But at any moment, this team with bright pink uniforms could slot a quick goal and leave bigger states reeling.

Claire Goss is a Regional ODP player, and between her and Andrea Hill, Super Nova has a biting offense. The defense is led by Rachel Earll and Maison O’Neill, who not only slow up opposing attackers but are instrumental in setting the pace for Nova. Back all of that up with a couple of strong goalkeepers, and you’ve got a team that can really make some waves in Phoenix.

Pre-Event Favorites

Legends FC Breakaway (Group C) – Cal South State Cup Champs also won the Far West Regional League this spring
Legends FC (Group B) – Yes, there’s two Legends teams. And they’re both good. This squad won the National League this year, and won the Far West Regional League in the fall.
Sparta United (Group D) – Utah State cup champs also won the President’s Day Tournament
Tucson SA (Group A) – Arizona State Cup champs have been finalists at a number of strong tournaments this year
Super Nova (Group A) – National President’s Cup winner last year

Players to Watch

Nicolette Martino, Legends FC Breakaway – Regional ODP player was offensive powerhouse in National League play
Jordan Jesolva, Legends FC Breakaway – National Team Pool player in the midfield
Claire Goss, Super Nova – Region IV ODP Player
Hannah Frakes, Super Nova – Crucial to Super Nova midfield
Darian Jenkins, Sparta United – National Team Player
Justine Kesterson, Tucson SA – Region IV ODP Player
Ally Moon, Legends FC – Region IV ODP Player, she too had a strong season in National League play
Jill Farley, THUSC Ireland – National Team Player
Jessica Imbrie, THUSC Ireland – Region IV ODP Player
Andi Tostanoski, Pride Predators – National Team Player