The Weston FC under-12 age group soccer club excelled in the Domestic Division title game. From left, front: Francesco Ninfole, Matias Pacheco, Emilio Cardenas, Diego Kochen, USA professional Christian Pulisic, Ivan Schmid, Luca De Paula, Mateo DePalo, Julian Acosta; back: Diego Ramirez, Axel Perez, David Montoya, Tyler Hall, Niel Waugh, Juan Quevedo, Jorge Goveau, Coach Victor Pastora. (photo/courtesy of Gabriel Roux/)
The Little League Baseball World Series has gained worldwide attention with its outstanding television and newspaper coverage, and now the Prospects Cup is looking to do the same thing in the sport of soccer.
The inaugural under-12 age group Prospects Cup in Kissimmee featured five-days of competition involving 16 of the top youth teams from eight countries battling it out for the right to become the first champion.
Eight of the clubs came from the United States, while the others were from abroad. The Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate hosted the attraction.
Weston FC proved more than up to the challenge in the Domestic Championship bracket play. Facing off against a formidable FC Dallas squad in the finale, the Weston 2006 (birth year) Academy squad made a first-half goal by defender Diego Ramirez stand up for a 1-0 victory.
In the second half, FC Dallas applied great pressure looking for the equalizer, but some phenomenal late game saves by goalkeeper Diego Kochen secured the shutout.
Kochen allowed only one goal en route to the Domestic title, leaving Weston FC coach Victor Pastora in awe of his accomplishments between the posts.
“(Diego) has the concentration, and the physical and technical abilities … he is just exceptional,” Pastora said. “He is a very positive kid and he is very competitive.”
Ramirez was thrilled to score the game-winner in the Domestic Championship showdown.
“I was ready for the corner (kick) … Juan (Quevedo) passed it and my friend Niel (Waugh) set me up for the shot and I scored,” he said. “I’m really excited and I’m proud of my teammates. They’re the greatest teammates I’ve ever had and I wanted to win this with them.”
Other members of the Weston FC squad are Julian Acosta, Emilio Cardenas, Luca De Paula, Mateo DePalo, Jorge Goveau, Tyler Hall, David Montoya, Francesco Ninfole, Matias Pacheco, Axel Perez and Ivan Schmid.
In the Domestic semi-finals against the LA Galaxy, Quevedo scored a hat trick to lead Weston FC to a 3-1 triumph.
Manchester City, meanwhile, won the International Championship bracket final with an 8-7 shootout win over Fluminense. In the Prospect Cup final Manchester broke open a tight game and defeated Weston FC 3-0 to take the inaugural Prospects Cup championship.
Pastora was thrilled to be part of a tournament with such a talented lineup of teams.
“I’m very happy and very proud of the players and all the work that everybody did for the club,” Pastora said. “This is the work of many, many coaches for the past five years.”
There was plenty of sponsor support for the Prospects Cup and the competition was televised by Univision Deportes. American professional soccer star and U.S. National Team member Christian Pulisic provided private clinics with the teams and fans.