The OBX Storm 11U Boys battled for the Championship at the USA Cup in Minnesota this past week in their bracket with 16 other teams. OBX Storm was the only team in the International Tournament representing North Carolina. Thanks to the generous donations and support of the community and several local businesses, the team departed for Minnesota on Monday, July 17.
Games began on Tuesday where the team met their first opponent, PIZM Wildcats. The Storm boys allowed their quick passing and sharp shots to win the game 3-0. Goals were scored by Carlos Obregon, Grey Harrell and Silas Warrender. Max Garavito celebrated a clean sheet as keeper. Later on Tuesday evening, the USA Cup held their Opening Ceremonies to celebrate all 15,000 players participating in the tournament. OBX Storm proudly marched in representing North Carolina and the Outer Banks to an enormous crowd. Wednesday’s game against St. Croix resulted in the team’s first loss of 0-2.
After some recharging, the boys were back on the pitch on Thursday to play the third game against Minneapolis United. Needing a win to advance to the Quarterfinals, Max Garavito made many sensational saves to preserve the shutout. Quickfooted striker Carlos Obregon scored the game winner with a left shot at the top of the net to lead the team to a 1-0 win.
On Friday morning, OBX Storm began their Quarterfinal game against Maplebrook SC. Edward Estrada, Dylan Quezada, Silas Warrender and double goals for Grey Harrell brought the team to a 5-3 victory. Storm advanced to the Semifinals in the afternoon on Friday against Jamaica. The game was a bit more defensive, but OBX Storm was successfully breaking their lines and had multiple shots on goal.
In the final 5 minutes of the game, Jamaica sunk a goal off of a corner kick and the OBX Storm boys were not able to equalize a goal before time ran out. Following the game, the two teams banded together for a joint photo and received many compliments from the coaches and players of the Jamaica team regarding the Storm boys being the most difficult team they have ever played.
Storm later tried to arrange for a game against St. Croix to determine the third and fourth place winners, but St. Croix declined a match.
Saturday morning was the Championship game for the 11U bracket, where the OBX Storm boys came to cheer on their former opponents, Team Jamaica, during their match. Unfortunately, Jamaica fell to Chicago City FC 0-2 in the final.
Much of the team’s success was because of the teamwork and trust amongst the boys to move the ball up the field. Miles Foubister, Dylan Quezada, Edward Estrada and Misha Goninan were essential as the strong defense in every game and to return the ball for strikers to score. Representing a solid defensive midfield, Jaxen Varnell, Woods Rogers, Carlos Obregon, Levi Sakers and Ryder Dutt tactfully passed and moved the ball around the field in order to create opportunities for scoring.
The strikers leading the charge and firing shots at the goal were Grey Harrell, Gideon Saunders, Silas Warrender and Zach Munro. Their quick touches and speed helped to set the team apart from their opponents. Max Garavito was the goalkeeper for all matches and had many difficult saves throughout the Tournament with 2 clean sheets to boot.
The camaraderie and experience that OBX Storm was able to have with so many teams throughout the country and the world will never be forgotten. The OBX Storm Club extends their congratulations to the team and to Coach Matt Hart on their very strong performance at the USA Cup.
For more information about OBX Storm, please visit obxstorm.org.
A photo gallery highlighting the exciting event can be accessed below: