Scottsdale Soccer's under-16 boys team, the 96 Blackhawks, won the prestigious U.S. Youth Soccer National League Blue Division March 23-25 in Las Vegas, Nev.
The achievement advances the team to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships to be held in Rock Hill, S.C. in July 2012. The 96 Blackhawks are the first boys team from Arizona to qualify for the U.S. Nationals since 2009.
The team went into its final weekend with a 3-1-0 record after beating the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, the OBDG Rangers of Maryland, in December with a score of 5-0.
Needing to win two out of three of its final matches, the 96 Blackhawks clinched the title after winning its first game March 23 against WAZA FC of Michigan with a 2-1 victory and then won its second game against the Concorde Fire of Georgia March 24 with a 3-0 victory.
The wins gave the team a 5-1-1 record in National League play and propelled them to the No. 2 in the nation ranking by www.gotsoccer.com.
"This is an unbelievably talented group of young men that worked for many years to reach this milestone. I could not be more proud of what they have accomplished," said Head Coach Adam Burke, elated after the final match.
Speaking on behalf of the players, Team Captains Chase Bishov and Luis Lopez commented, "We worked together as a team and we played as a team until the end. We are so grateful to our club, our coach, our trainers and our parents for supporting us over the many years that we have played together. We look forward to representing Arizona at the US Nationals this summer."
The 96 Blackhawks have an impressive record of achievement including three Arizona state championships (2009, 2010, 2011), several national tournament wins and three appearances at the Region IV Championships.
Scottsdale Soccer is a nonprofit organization that provides soccer experiences for all children and supports the development of student athletes in our community. Attention is on the whole athlete, with emphasis on character, teamwork, commitment and self confidence. Scottsdale Soccer is currently the largest soccer club in Arizona.
The competitive program of the club is the Scottsdale Soccer Blackhawks.The Blackhawks competitive program has over 750 boys and girls placed on 54 competitive teams.