European FC Academy’s (EFC) OK Diesel U13 boys joined 15 of the top teams from 71 leagues in the Pacific Region in San Jose for the U13 regional futsal championship.
Euro FC found themselves in the group of death with last year’s semifinalists Legends FC and Cardinal FC, but being the unknown team played to their advantage, initially.
Game 1 saw EFC get off to a cracking start with their first international goal scored by Hayden Murphy. That strike, along with some stellar goalkeeping from Wyatt Mullins and exceptional field management from Ethan Anderson, had the Vernon boys trailing by one goal at the half.
Unfortunately, the second half saw the Legends exert their dominance and power to a well deserved win.
The local boys then buried BUFC with Joshua Mark and Matt Acob providing the support for eight goals from Murphy (2), Kailen Russell (2), Anderson, Sam Calkins and Hunter Schindel along with the dependable Mullins, who channelled his inner Peter Cech to keep a clean sheet.
The third game against the eventual finalists, Cardinal Bears, was a hum-ding affair with end-to-end action and goals a plenty. Besides Cardinal having already played last year’s finalists, they had only had one goal scored against them. It was a game that the Euro boys had been relishing all tournament.
The Cardinals were rocked in the opening five minutes when Acob slotted home a perfectly weighted pass from Kailen Russell who looked as if he had saved all his cunning for this game.
The boys did not stop at that, and within another five minutes, and before Cardinal could get on the scoresheet, Euro FC stretched their lead through goals from Ethan Anderson and another from Acob who tucked the ball into the net with a far post finish.
Cardinals fought their way back into contention before Calkins regained possession and fed Murphy, who finished with a powerful low drive to give Euro FC a 4-3 lead at the half.
However, after a lengthy break and some video review, Cardinals were allocated a disputed goal to leave the score tie at the half.
By this stage, a buzz had swept through the stadium as teams from all over gathered to watch what was looking like the upset of the tournament.
The second half was more of the same with Calkins and Russell providing numerous chances while Anderson and Hunter Schindel stalked the mid court with excellent defensive support from Joshua Mark and superb goalkeeping once again by Mullins. Euro FC could not capitalize on the first-half momentum and were beaten by a tactically superior team.
“While the results did not go in their favour the team showed they have the capacity to compete on the big stage where quick decisions and technical proficiency are vital ingredients of the European FC way,” said EFC coach Ian Murphy, joined by Cliff Acob.