Park City soccer player will travel to Youth Soccer Nationals
From June 18 to 24, several Park City soccer players traveled to Honolulu for the U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships. One of them, Mackenna Doilney, was on the winning team, which will play in the 2018 Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas on July 24.
It will be the farthest Doilney and her team, the Utah Soccer Alliance Premier 02 girls, a high school-aged squad coached by Patrick Rennie, have ever gone in the youth soccer post-season. The Park City High School junior has been playing since she was two years old, and has played positions all over the field; she currently is a centerback for USA Premier.
She said the team went through a shakeup two years ago, when the club changed the way age groups were organized, but soon after it started to regain momentum.
“We had a completely new team,” Doilney said. “We had to get used to it a lot. All the girls individually were really good but, (weren’t a cohesive unit). Over the past few years we’ve just been getting better and better and better.”
Last year, the team won the club state tournament for the first time, but was knocked out of the Far West Regionals, held in Seattle, in the quarterfinals.
This year, the Utah Soccer Alliance prevailed, winning each of its six games to earn the championship.
“Going into it, we knew the competition was going to be really tough, because it was the winners from all the Western states and the Desert Premier League,” Doilney said, referring to the elite western league. “We practiced a lot leading up to it, so we were prepared.”
She said the competition got tougher as the tournament progressed, until the team found themselves facing the Washington Timbers in the finals, who they had beaten in pool play a few days earlier – badly, in fact.
“The first time we beat them 7-1, but we knew it was probably a fluke and our coach made sure we went into it not thinking we were going to win, because they were probably a better team than the first time we had seen them,” Doilney said.
The Utah girls shut out the Timbers again, winning 2-0.
“It felt really good,” Doilney said of the win. “It was really exciting, especially because we’re a newer team and not everyone has known each other for that long. And it felt really good to represent the club and the state, knowing that a team from our club had never won before, and I don’t think any of the girls in our club had won before, so it felt awesome.”
On July 24, Doilney and the USA Premier team will head to Frisco for nationals.
“I don’t really know what to expect but I know it’s going to be way tougher,” Doilney said. “I’m super excited and I think we’re prepared.”
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The event was planned as an eight-day, 1,000-mile bike ride from Helsinki, Finland, to Paris, but Blair did the same thing she’s done with everything else in her life: more.