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Soccer: Alaska Rush U17 girls become state’s first team to win Far West region tournament, clinches berth to Nationals

by | Jun 30, 2023 | Cover Story, Soccer

History was made this last week in Boise Idaho at the US Youth Soccer Far West Regional tournament where the Alaska Rush U17 Girls Club defeated Utah’s La Roca FC 4-1 to earn a bid to the National Championships.

Midfielder Parker Sullivan bodies out an opponent for the strip. Photo courtesy Montana Surf Soccer Club

It was the first Alaska club team ever – boys or girls – to qualify for a National Championship bid. The team won their pool with a tie against the Utah Celtics, then bested teams Cal North and Cal South in quarters and semis respectively.

“This is history in the making!” Rush Technical direct Barat Killian shared via text.

“Alaskans have had teams win the Presidents Cup regional/national events but never the Far West Regional event,” Killian said.

Keeper Skylar Lind with a punch save. Photo courtesy Montana Surf Soccer Club.

The girls from Alaska did it the hard way. The Anchorage-based team had to go through both California squads – clubs from soccer-rich regions that draw from pools of hundreds of thousands of youth.

“They went through Cal North and Cal South which in my mind, cements their status as Regionals Champs,” Killian said. “Those are top teams and they proved themselves that Alaska is a contender!”

Coached by Mike Montgomery, an iconic figure in high school and club soccer in Alaska, the Alaska Rush squad played stingy defense and aggressive on the offense keeping their opponents on their heels from the start to the final whistle.

Karly Harris wins the header. Photo courtesy Montana Surf Soccer Club.

Parker Sullivan, of Dimond High, played her normal commanding role in the midfield distributing balls through the slightest of gaps to advancing forwards and braking up opponents play as well.

She was impressed with the tournament and the competitiveness but mostly her teams grit, and determination.

“Our team has come so far since our first regionals three years ago. We rarely got flustered and just kept grinding away on both sides of the ball – I’m super proud of the team,” said Sullivan.

Mai Mateaki (Dimond), Ayla Eterkin (Dimond), and Makenna Harris (South) provided offensive firepower throughout the tournament, while Sumiko Ramos (Service), Ali Adkins (South), and Karly Harris (Service) stood out in anchoring the defense.

Meanwhile, keeper Skylar Lind (South) was phenomenal throughout the tournament, registering numerous highlight reel saves and playing a key role in the title run.

Ali Adkins tracks down opponent. Photo courtesy Montana Surf Soccer Club.

“This group is special. They sacrifice and put in the extra work when others won’t. They go out as a team and reserve extra turf on their days off,” Killian said.

“And it helps having a great parent group who supports our coaching staff, who know just what the players need and when.”

The National Championship take place July 17-23 in Orlando, FL and will test the best 8 teams from four Regions that won at their respective Regionals, or the Presidents Cup tournament.

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Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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