FC United’s U-16 team in select company with Region II title

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For the first time in its 11-year history, the FC United soccer club has a girls select team that can call itself a Region II champion.

After five matches in five days at the Region II Championships in Beavercreek, Ohio, some extra soccer was required in the U-16 title match. Olivia Peters (Glenbrook South) proceeded to take over the overtime, scoring a pair of goals to give her team a 4-2 victory over the FC Ambassadors (Cleveland, Ohio) on June 25.

The overtime format mirrors the World Cup. Instead of a golden goal, the teams play two 15-minute overtime sessions. FC United has a glut of talented forwards, so in the title match, Peters was initially used in a reserve role.

“Before overtime, she had only played about 25 minutes,” said coach Craig Snower, who is also the director of girls soccer for the club. “She’s not used to coming off the bench, so she was in a different role all weekend.”

Snower said Peters played her best soccer of the year in overtime.

“She owned the overtime,” he said. “She took over the game.”

Peters said she knew her relatively fresh legs would be a weapon in the extra session.

“We had worked so hard to get to that point and I just gave it all I possibly could,” she said.

The 5-foot-2 Peters scored both of her goals on headers.

“Sometimes they end up marking all the tall people and leave me open,” Peters said with a smile.

It was quite an intense title journey for the U-16 girls. Unlike the players on some club teams, the girls at FC United Select are encouraged to play high school soccer. That meant there were only about 10 days to prepare for the Region II tournament following the conclusion of the high school season.

The team is comprised primarily of players from New Trier, Loyola, Glenbrook South and Lake Forest.

“We were a little bit worried about fatigue from the long high school season, and the kids did a great job [maximizing] the time we had to prepare,” Snower said.

After each victory in the Region II tournament, the girls’ routine barely changed.

“We just went back to the hotel and tried to rest and prepare for the game the next day,” said Adrian Walker, who will be a junior at Lake Forest. “It was a lot hotter than in [Chicago].”

In three matches during pool play, FC United outscored the opposition 13-1. The girls followed that up with a 2-0 victory over KHA RED (Ohio Select) in the semifinals.

The title run was especially sweet for Libertyville resident Devin Burns, who will be a junior at Loyola. Burns tore the ACL in her right knee last summer and had to wear a constricting brace the entire high school season.

“I was able to get my shot off a lot quicker,” she said. “I felt like a whole new player.”

Next up for the girls is a trip to the US Youth Soccer National Championships, which begin July 22 in Maryland.

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