FC United U-18 team completes run to Region II semis

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The FC United soccer club’s U-18 girls team was looking for a new coach after Brian Rigby left to concentrate on his new responsibilities as the UIC women’s soccer coach.

Craig Snower, FC United’s director of girls coaching, was only too glad for the opportunity to coach a team that had accomplished a great deal as it advanced through the age ranks.

“This was a really important team for our club,” Snower said. “They were our first girls team to win a State Cup [in U-16], and they also advanced to the Region II semifinals that year. They played in all the major competitive showcases and were just a great group.”

The girls closed out this season by qualifying for the Region II Championships in Ohio in late June. After advancing out of pool play, the U-18 team dropped a 4-1 decision to Cleveland United White in the semifinals on June 24. Cleveland United White went on to claim the championship.

The girls were at less than full strength but still found a way to have success in pool play. For the tournament, the team posted a 2-1-1- record.

“We were down to 13 field players, and they worked really hard to get into the semifinals,” Snower said.

Lucy Edwards, a Lake Forest graduate who plans to play for DePaul in the fall, was one of the captains. The team featured players from a number of schools, including New Trier, Lake Forest, Glenbrook North and Deerfield.

Unlike many of the clubs they were competing against, the vast majority of the U-18 girls played high school soccer. As a result, they only had about 10 days to prepare for the Region II tournament following the conclusion of the high school season. The girls made the most of the condensed time frame.

“It brought everyone together,” said Rachel Hirshman, a Glenbrook North graduate who will begin school at Stanford this fall. “Although we didn’t win [the tournament], it was a great experience to make it so far and play the last games with a group of players that have been together for so long.”

Snower said the players benefit from competing at the club and high school level.

“We think it’s good for their soccer and their social development,” he said. “It’s a great experience to play for your school and in front of your friends. You get to compete for state titles and [club] titles. It’s the best of both worlds.”

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