This past weekend, seventeen soccer players from the Louisville Lightning soccer program combined with the Louisville Soccer Alliance (LSA) to help earn the Men’s Open Championship and bragging rights among all Region II teams. A total of four teams based out of Louisville travelled to the Tournament of Champions in Fort Wayne, IN. This event features the state and league championship teams from the Midwest Region’s 14 state associations.
The Men’s Open Championship game was won after a tense 2-2 tie resulted in a penalty kick shootout. It took eight kicks from each team, and four misses off the crossbar, before Lightning Pro and Bellarmine University soccer standout, Nick Staggs, buried the game winner on Sunday afternoon. A total of 11 players from the Lightning Professional team participated on the Open Cup team representing Louisville with a 5-0 record at the tournament. Other members included Adam Boyer, Tommy Clines, Chad Hagerty, Ross Hopkins, Nick Judah, Ryan McDonald, Frank Peabody, Lindsay Smith, Nick Staggs, Lee Weyland, and Darren Yeagle.
In the Men’s Over 30 division, five players from the Lightning’s Reserve and Hispanic teams helped earn an undefeated weekend and similar shootout victory in the team’s final game. Unfortunately, a last minute change to the schedule and miscommunication resulted in a mystery game that kept the team from earning the necessary point total to advance directly to the championship round. Regardless, Lightning players including Marlon Jones, Matt McGoron, Alex Munoz, Rodrigo Padilla, and Nick Stover played an important role in the experienced team’s success.
Mario Sanchez, also a member of the Lightning’s Hispanic team, participated on the third men’s team from Louisville, Kentucky Latinos. This team boasted an all-star list of players representing the Louisville Latino’s Soccer League, the largest adult amateur outdoor soccer league in Kentucky with 39 teams. Within this league, the Louisville Lightning’s Hispanic team currently sits in first place. Despite going undefeated in group play, the team’s one win and two ties were not enough to push through to the championship round on Sunday.
Not to be outdone, the fourth Louisville team represented the best women’s adult amateur soccer players from the bluegrass state. The team also went undefeated over the weekend, beating the Fort Wayne Sports Club 3-1 in the final match.
“The Kentucky Soccer Association and LSA provide a wonderful opportunity for adult amateur soccer players to compete at the highest level ,” said Lightning General Manager, Nick Stover. “To send four teams is a big success alone, but the fact we are coming home with two championships and no losses really shows the strength of Kentucky soccer in comparison to the other 14 states in the region.”