After dueling to a 1-1 draw through regulation and overtime play, the Real Salt Lake U-17 Team defeated the D.C. United U-17s in penalty kicks this morning to win the 2008 SUM U-17 Cup, being hosted at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. Real Salt Lake FW James Rogers bagged his seventh goal of the tournament in the first half and was named the SUM U-17 Cup MVP after leading the week-long competition in scoring. After ending the match all square at ones, Real Salt Lake knocked off the defending champs from United in penalties, as Real Salt Lake GK Mike D'Arrigo made two saves to lead the team to a 4-2 victory in the shootout.
"From the onset we knew it was going to be an uphill battle with us meshing kids from three teams together, but this team came together very quickly both on and off the field," said RSL U-17 Head Coach Greg Maas. "We had a special group of players that were able to battle through a lot of adversity against some well-established programs, and for us to bring it all together took an outstanding performance. The event was first-class all the way, and it was just one of those experiences where the stars aligned and it was destined to go in our favor thanks to the efforts of everyone involved."
Real Salt Lake will host the RSL Under-17 squad at its July 28 match against Toronto FC at Rice-Eccles Stadium, where a recognition ceremony for the squad will be held during that night's pre-match festivities. This year's second annual SUM U-17 Cup tournament featured 14 youth teams representing each MLS squad, with the exception of the San Jose Earthquakes (the host Colorado Rapids fielded two teams). Through its SUM U-17 Cup victory, the RSL U-17 Team earned berths in a pair of world-class youth tournaments next year - the 30th anniversary edition of the Dallas Cup in April at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, and the 2009 Trofeo Quixote U-17 tournament in Madrid, Spain, also scheduled to take place in the spring.
The Trofeo Quixote U-17 tournament will unofficially crown the youth World Club champion for a fifth time next spring. In its first four years, the trophy has been won by a pair of South American teams, Boca Juniors of Argentina in 2005 and 2006 and Sao Paolo of Brazil in 2007 and 2008. Next year will mark the fourth time that MLS will have a representative in the Trofeo Quixote tournament, with D.C. United representing MLS in 2006 and 2008 and Red Bull New York doing the honors in 2007.
Below is the Real Salt Lake Under-17 Team roster that captured the 2008 SUM U-17 Cup title:
Real Salt Lake Under-17 SUM Cup Roster
RSL-Arizona (3): Mike D'Arrigo, Kodiac Gamble, Adrian Saldana
RSL-Florida (4): T.J. East, Hamza Elotnani, Joey Layton, Jake Peterson
RSL-Utah (11): Taylor Bowlin, Carlos Cruz, Camree Gautavi, Trevor Henderson, Mike Hodgen, Josh Kealamakia, Phillip Neuwirth, Karson Payton, Taylor Peay, James Rogers, Jose Sergura
Coaching Staff: Greg Maas (RSL-Utah), Adolfo Ovalle (RSL-Utah), Brian Johnson (Real Salt Lake)
Staff Trainer: Brad Colton (RSL-Utah)