In all, 224 teams competed in age classes ranging from 12 to 19.
The United, named after a Columbia team that won the boys national under-16 championship in 1987, rallied in its first game to nip the Pittsburgh Hotspurs, 2-1. Columbia trailed 1-0 at halftime. C. B. Santiago scored the winning goal.
The United defeated Massachusetts, 2-0, in game two on goals by Toby Kershner and Naa-k Ewool-Robotham.
Their third game was a 6-2 romp over West Virginia.
United coach Kevin Jones was disappointed, but said "Our goal is to win a national under-16 title, and finishing third in the region as 13-year-olds is a big step for the future. We did a great job."
The team was hurt by an injury to star striker Kamil Quander, who suffered a concussion during an Olympic development training camp the week before regionals. Quander, injured on the final day of that camp, was selected to the regional under-13 team.
"He's our best player and was only playing at about 60 percent of his capacity," Jones said. "We had three other starters at that same training camp, and they were all exhausted for regionals. Still, we had a great year."
The United compiled a fall/spring record of 39-9-7, won three tournaments and won the fall division I of the National Capitol Soccer League.
In addition to Quander, Kershner, Santiago and Ewool-Robotham, team members included David Briefel, Matt Laycock, Jason Gotis, David Buehler, Tom Kaufman, Christian Lewis, Brandon Newhouse, Brian Otten, Matt Walton, Pablo Webster, Cort Yetso and Phillip Downs.
The Trenton, N.J., Cosmos defeated Syracuse, 5-1, in the under-13 championship game.
* The Columbia Crusaders under-19 girls team had aspirations of a possible championship, but the tough competition and an injury to starting goalie Krista Fulton waylaid them.
The Crusaders started well, defeating the Downingtown, Pa., Spirit, 3-0, in their opener. Stefanie Magro, Amanda Simmons and Betsy Howser scored, and Vicki Brunt had two assists.
But Fulton, whose long punts are a vital weapon in the Crusaders' offensive arsenal, injured her knee and was unable to play the next two games. Samantha Andersch, who is one of the top offensive threats, was held scoreless.
The Crusaders tied Rhode Island, 1-1, in game two as Julie Malinowski scored.
But in game three, Vista United of Virginia beat Columbia, 2-0, in a game closer than the final score indicated.
"It was 1-0 until the final 15 minutes, and we dominated large portions of the game but couldn't finish," said Coach Anita Andersch. "It was an excellent game. Very physical, but clean. And it drew applause at the end. Our players showed well."
The Willingboro, N.J., Strikers beat the Boston Bolts in the finals.
* The Columbia Command won twice, but lost its third game in the girls under-17 division.
Manda Kolste and Amy Fine scored goals in the opening 2-0 win over Maine.
Nicole Krupp, MaryEllen Carullo and Fine each scored in a 3-1 victory over Western, N.Y.
But the Command lost to New Jersey, 1-0, on a first-half goal.
"We wanted to get to one more level, so it was a devastating loss," Coach Rudy Storch said. "But when we formed this team, it was just to have fun, and we did that."
The team compiled a 13-6 spring record, winning the state cup.
Other team members included Julie Lovell, Camille Powell, Corina Riismandel, Paige Nettelbladt, Alison Lages, Jamie Fontaine, Deborah Hantman, Kelly Butler, Christine DiBella and Stephanie Otto.
* The Columbia Spirit under-14 girls finished with a win, a loss and a tie.
The Spirit tied Long Island 0-0 in game one before beating New Jersey, 3-0, in game two.
Then it faced the tough, two-time defending champs, the Braddock Road Astros, of Virginia, and the Spirit fell, 3-1.
"We had tied Braddock Road the last three times we played them, so we were hoping we could catch them, but they were exceptionally good and went on to win the regional title again," Spirit coach John Bagrosky said. "But these were as good a three games as we've put together. The quality of the competition was just exceptional."
The Spirit, three-time state champions, had won one tournament and finished second in three others this season. They have 10 state team players.
Team members are Jamie Baier, Antoinette Bwalya, Marianna Cincotta, Michelle Clare, Meg Cronin, Katie Douglas, Jackie Jamaris, Julie Kickham, Karen Krupka, Shannon Otto, Tania Riismandel, Mandy Robins, Rima Sidhu and Allison Whitt.
* The fifth Columbia team to compete at regionals, the Columbia City United under-14 boys, also failed to advance from the round-robin competition into the final four.
Their coach, Denis Krupa, could not be reached for comment.