Playing up into an older age group can be a daunting task for a young soccer team. Not only does it mean facing bigger, faster and stronger competition, it means playing a game a little more physical than normal. Although the benefit is obvious- your team improves- there is a clear disadvantage. Many times a better younger team will lose to an inferior older team simply because of the advantages afforded by the age difference. Maturity can go a long way in youth sports. However, for two FC Alliance teams, age meant nothing in a recent tournament. Both the 06 Cowan Premier boys and 03 Boys Black captured championships in older divisions at the 2013 Appalachian Fall Festival.
The party got started with the Cowan team. The U8 team, featuring several U7 players, played in the AFF U9-U10 boys bracket. Many players were playing up two years and sometimes three. Despite this, they grabbed the crown with three impressive wins. The first one was a 7-2 thrashing of an older Knoxville Soccer Academy team. Next came a solid 6-2 win over a U9 Knoxville Crush squad. The championship game was the only was the only real challenge, but FC Alliance prevailed 6-4 over U9 FC Dallas.
Coach Mike MacLean’s 03 Boys Black won the U12 division as a U11 team. The road was a difficult one. All three wins going into the finals were by a goal (6-5, 3-2, and 2-1). The championship game went into overtime, an impressive 4-2 triumph over FC Dallas U12.