The Leavenworth United U9 girls' soccer team recently celebrated its first place finish in the Heartland soccer division 4 this fall.
The local squad was also the champion of the Halloween Havoc Tournament in Council Bluff, Iowa, back in late October.
Bumped up two divisions from the previous year, the United took its new division by storm with a 7-0-1 record, winning 22 points out of the 24 available.
The girls dominated the division by scoring 44 goals and only allowed four scores against them.
“It was awesome to see them move up two divisions and then just dominate the competition,” United coach Greg Ruff said. “The girls are very dedicated and work very hard to be as good as they can be. They come to practice and there is no messing around, they just get on with it and it shows in the games.”
The team will try to move to division 2 for the spring, looking for tighter competition.
"Level of play is very important to develop a soccer player’s skill,” Ruff said. “Each division, as you step up, gets harder and faster. You have to learn how to play at that level.”
At the end of October, the girls went to Iowa to test their skills against other teams from other states.
The Halloween Havoc presented a nice challenge and a lot of teams participated that provided a high level of competition.
Leavenworth recorded a 3-1 record during the weekend after taking the first game in the tournament by a score of 8-0. In the second game the girls won 5-0.
The third game introduced a feeling the girls had not felt all season — a loss. The 3-1 defeat snapped the team’s 10-game winning streak.
However, due to the tournament’s setup, the United got a chance at redemption in the championship match.
"I told the girls to learn from the loss, that we did not play our game, that we got too complacent and took winning for granted,” Leavenworth coach Alan Phillips said. “They had to get back to the basics of fighting for every ball, attacking the goal and playing great defense like we had all year long.”
In the finals, the LUSC U9 girls took over the game, never giving its opponent a chance. In the end, the United won 5-1.
"From the beginning they were aggressive, played smart, passed the ball well, kept their shape, played great defense and dominated the team that previously beat them,” Ruff said. “It was fun to see how these girls bounced back from a loss to gather themselves and get back to what they do best.”
Page 2 of 2 - If anyone is interested in joining the Leavenworth club, which plays year around, contact the team’s Facebook page, 'LUSC Thunder U9', to gain more information.