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Falcon soccer star helps club team to title; others compete

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Soccer players who are students at Skyridge High Schoolrepresented Utah at the United States Youth Soccer National Championship Series at Orlando, Florida’s Walt Disney Wide World of Sports Complex from July 19-24.

Incoming sophomore Kalena Bellini was a forward on the varsity team last fall which finished second in Class 6A. Bellini was the team’s leading scorer with 10 goals and was also the overall offensive points leader.

In the off-season, she plays with Wasatch SC 07 G15U ZB, which punched its ticket to Florida by winning the 15U age group bracket at the US Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships in Boise, Idaho in June.

Wasatch was one of nine teams from Utah to qualify for the national tournament, which includes a 16-team field in each of seven age divisions. Wasatch was the only state team to win a bracket title this year. According to the official USYS recap:

“Two first-half goals proved enough for Wasatch SC 07G ZB (UT) to fend off Eclipse Select Central Illinois 2007G (IL) for the 15U Girls National Championship.

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“Wasatch continued its trend of striking early and often — and then not conceding. It was a level game until the 23rd minute, when Jocelyn Wright used some nifty moves to get past two defenders and then fired a shot that beat the Illinois side’s keeper. 

“Wasatch didn’t waste much time in getting a second, with Nellie Brooks finding Isabella Gray, who took a shot that left no doubt where it was ending up in the 33rd minute. 

“The Utah side, who had only given up one goal in its first four games at Nationals, were again rock-solid defensively and saw the half out.

“Eclipse’s offense couldn’t muster anything up in the second half either, but not for lack of chances. They threw everything they had at Wasatch, but nothing made its way into the back of the net, and the girls from Utah were crowned 15U National Champions.”

Wasatch Coach Zach Burton said, “What an amazing accomplishment! They were relentless on defense and never slacked off a minute of any game.

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“They played as a complete unit, in sync and always aware of their teammates. They played like dragons and conquered the Florida heat and all of the teams they faced,” he added. Wasatch beat teams from Michigan and Florida and tied with a team from Pennsylvania to advance from Bracket D pool play.

The title matches were played in 90+ degree temperatures with 92% humidity.

The state also had a second entrant in the 15U bracket, the Utah Surf 07 JC. This squad includes incoming sophomores Rachel Boren, a defender, and forward/midfielder Cambria Lee, who were both rostered with the Falcons last season.

Two other Skyridge students, Brooklyn Lake and Allison Beard, also play with the Surf and aspire to join the high school program.

The Surf beat teams representing Ohio and Mississippi in Bracket B pool play but lost to the team that played Wasatch for the title, so they did not advance to the championship rounds.They qualified for Nationals by winning the State Cup at the end of the spring season.

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The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series is a year-long series of competitions at the state and regional levels which provides about 185,000 players on 10,000 teams from USYS’s54 State Associations the opportunity to showcase their soccer skills against the best competition in the nation.

The Falcons will host Orem to open the fall prep soccer season on Aug. 2 at 5:30 p.m.

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