Reprinted Article By Joe Clifford, 06/26/19, 4:45PM EDT
The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series Eastern Regional Championships will take place from June 27-July 2 in Barboursville, WV. Leading up to the event, EDP will be profiling several of the qualified teams and looking at their journey to this point. The next team featured in the “Road to Regionals” series is the Massapequa SC Warriors (NY-E), who earned their Regionals berth through their performance in the US Youth Soccer National League EDP North Atlantic Premier I Conference.
They say that defense wins championships. For the Massapequa Warriors, that’s especially true. The team allowed just seven goals in nine games during the US Youth Soccer National League EDP North Atlantic Premier I Conference season, posting a 7-1-1 record to clinch a spot in the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships.
Anchoring that defense is goalkeeper Vasilis Ganasoulis, who has stopped the last four penalty kicks he’s faced. Center backs Vincenzo Buffolino and Conor Curran join with center midfielders Juan Ponce, Thomas O’Neill and Kevin Johnson to make it tough for opponents just to get to Ganasoulis, while midfielder Jeremy Guardado is the Warriors’ most versatile player.
“All of the boys bring a special skill to the team,” Team Manager John O’Neill remarked. “They have great chemistry. They all get along and they play for each other.”
Playing in one of the toughest conferences in the nation, Massapequa enjoyed several memorable moments throughout the season. The Warriors scored three goals in the first 20 minutes, including one in the opening minute, of a 5-2 victory over FC Somers Benfica on March 17. Massapequa also earned a 1-0 win against Syracuse Development Academy SDA 2003B Nike, the No. 3 team in the nation, on May 5.
“The competition in the National League EDP Conference is excellent,” O’Neill noted. “There are five teams out of 20 at Regionals just from our conference. Playing in such a tough league absolutely prepared us for Regionals.”
In addition, Massapequa has fared well in tournaments. The team topped its bracket at the National League EDP Conferences Spring Showcase in April, earning two wins and a draw against opponents very similar to the ones it will see at Regionals. Which has the Warriors brimming with confidence heading into the event.
“We always set our team goals high,” O’Neill said. “One of our goals was to make it to Regionals, and we’re looking forward to the great competition we’ll see.”