Three area youth teams competing for national championships in Arizona Bullets, Darby, Stars need two wins apiece

July 23, 1998|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

Two youth soccer teams from Baltimore and one from Columbia will open play today and tomorrow in Phoenix, Ariz., each just two victories away from age-group national championships that will be decided by the weekend.

The three teams all won Maryland State Cup titles earlier this spring and then U.S. Youth Soccer Association East region titles in competition in Erie, Pa. The East region extends from Virginia north through Maine.

Girls titles also will be decided in Phoenix, but no Maryland teams qualified this year.

The Baltimore Football Club Bullets will be the first local team to play, opening the semifinals against the Cincinnati Dynamo in the Under-19 boys group. That group's titlist and third-place finisher will be decided in Saturday games.

Tournament games are played either in the early morning or late evening to avoid Phoenix's heat, but game-time temperatures are still often around 100 degrees.

Columbia Darby, consisting of select-level players now in college but originally assembled as U-15s to do as well regionally and nationally as possible, will be seeking the U-20 men's title tomorrow against the Memphis (Tenn.) Soccer Club.

The Soccer Club of Baltimore's Stars, another group of select-level players that has won several state cups, but was upset last season by the Severna Park Top Guns, a third-place finisher last year in Phoenix, will begin their quest for the U-18 boys title tomorrow against St. Louis' Busch Soccer Club.

National championships and third-place finishers in the U-20 and U-18 groups will be decided on Sunday night.

Pub Date: 7/23/98

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