The Juneau Soccer Club Impact — 16 players ages 11-13 — won their bracket at the Aug. 2-6 Mt. Hood Challenge in the greater Portland area.
Days before the tournament, temperatures were predicted to reach as high as 108 degrees. High heat and levels of particulate matter in the air from recent Canada fires threatened to cancel the tournament.
But, the tournament directors added high heat guidelines and decided the tournament would continue.
“It was very fun to compete with teams from out of Alaska — especially because in Juneau there aren’t that many teams,” player Matthias Carney said.
The Impact won their first pool games, 6-1, 6-1, in temperatures in the high 90s. Carney, Talon Briggs and Matisse Geselle all scored in the first win over Saints Soccer Academy North (Portland).
In the second win over the Kelso Rebels, Carney, Geselle, Briggs and Will Robinson tallied goals.
The Juneau team then went on to defeat Portland City United, 3-2, thanks in part to Brigg’s two-goal game, his third of the tournament.
The Impact played Willamette United Football Club (WUFC) in the championship game for the six-team bracket.
“They were a pretty strong team,” Carney said of Willamette. “They had a good goalkeeper too, he was really tall.”
Up to the final game, WUFC led the bracket in fewest goals allowed — one, while the Impact led in goals scored — 15. The game remained scoreless into the final eight minutes of regulation. A foul in the penalty box resulted in a penalty-kick score for WUFC.
With only minutes remaining and down 0-1, Carney answered with a goal from distance, just over the reach of the goalkeeper, sending the game to overtime.
“Everyone was screaming and jumping around after I scored to put it into overtime,” Carney said.
With just two minutes left in the second overtime half, Geselle sprung loose to put away the eventual game winner.
Significant fundraising went into paying for this soccer tournament trip and the Impact would not have been able to travel without the support of the Juneau community. The boys thank the community for making this trip and their first-place win possible.