After a dominant performance at the Region I Championships in West Virginia, the Syracuse Development Academy’s Under-13 boys traveled to Frisco, Texas, looking to become the best U-13 team in the country.
Even though getting there wasn’t a problem, staying there and living up to their own expectations was. The boys out of Syracuse, New York struggled to remain confident in their game and entered a drought throughout the championships, which gave them the frustrating 0-2-1 record for the tournament.
Their struggles shouldn’t be on the shoulders of just one player; they struggled because a number of their players failed to play the way that they are capable of and they didn’t perform well as a unit, two of the things that took the most responsibility for getting them to the National Championships.
SDA matched up against the other three U-13 boys teams who also came out victorious in their Regional Championships, but, as their record infers, they weren’t the same team that was in West Virginia in late June and early July.
Usually, the ball movement on this team is phenomenal and eye-opening, but, it disappeared and wasn’t even a thought this time. At the end of the tournament, you could use your fingertips to count how many times that they served into the penalty box.
Besides that, it’s very difficult to pinpoint one specific reason why this team was so unsuccessful just a little while after their dominant performance in Regionals.
Michael Catanzarite worked so hard to support SDA. When the offense wasn’t rolling like it usually does in the contest with Michigan, he found a way to sneak the ball into the back of the net and followed through with the promise that he made to himself, his teammates, and his coaches; that he would leave it all on the field and do what he can to put, not only the defense, but, the whole team on his shoulders.
His fellow defender, Jake Pawlika, also had one of SDA’s highlights of the National Championships. In the first game against the Pawlika rejected one of the goal-scoring opportunities as he stood on the goal line to support goalkeeper Emmett Bauer.
Bauer had a great game from a mental standpoint. He had to be attentive and on his toes every minute of the half. The mental toughness that Bauer expressed was eye-opening. Even when the opponents were finding the back of the net consistently, Bauer continued to put his body on the line to try to give his team the opportunity to climb back into contention.
Many of the players weren’t who they were in Regionals. The forwards failed to produce goals, the midfielders couldn’t bridge the forwards, and the defenders always seemed to be outnumbered, leading to fast-break opportunities for the opponents.
Simon Hoke did have one of the highlights of the National Championships for SDA. A little while after Catanzarite’s goal against Michigan, Hoke broke free and made his way into the box and allowed Francesco Pagano to deliver the ball with a pinpoint pass to his feet and he buried it in the back of the net.
The U-13 boys of the Syracuse Development Academy disappointed themselves with their performance at the National Championships in Frisco, Texas, as they possessed an 0-2-1 record.