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Laredo Youth Team Headed to Kansas for National Youth Soccer Championship

By Admin, 06/21/24, 9:30AM CDT


Heat Under 16’s (2008’s) Looking for National United States Youth Soccer Title


Laredo, TX (Thursday, June 20, 2024) – The Laredo Heat SC Youth Academy U16 team is one of eight teams heading to Kansas to compete for a national championship after continuing its season-long undefeated run through this week’s 2024 USYS Presidents Cup Regional Finals.

“It was good. The team was very motivated to play in this tournament. They won every single game,” Laredo Heat U16 head coach Juan De Dios Ibarra said.


The Heat entered the tournament at 18-0-0 with their season-long unbeaten run featuring all victories and no draws.


Just like during that dominant run, Laredo continued to feature a balanced attack at the 2024 USYS Presidents Cup Regional Finals. The goals came from every level with defenders, midfielders and forwards all contributing. The Heat finished with 15 goals from 11 players.


“We are very balanced on the goals. The style we play gives all the players an opportunity to score,” Ibarra said. “We had two center backs score, the right back and the left back scored, the center leads, and the forwards scored. It was very balanced. It has been like that during the whole season.”


Laredo opened group play with a 2-1 victory over IFC 08 Champions from Mississippi. Leonardo Almanza scored off an assist from Andre Viera, and Oswaldo Madrid scored on an assist by Asael Montoya.

The second game was a more dominant effort rolling 4-0 against the Champions from North Carolina. The Heat got goals from Rafael Yañez, Andre Viera, Edgar Longoria and Luis Guzman.


The Heat closed out group play with another clean sheet. They won 1-0 over the GMFC Champions from South Carolina behind a goal from Pedro Zapata.


While it was a balanced effort throughout the tournament, Montoya stepped up in the semifinals and finals as he recorded a brace in both matches.


Montoya was joined by Rodrigo Lozano and Alfredo Elizondo on the goal sheet in the semifinals as the Heat won 4-1 over Flight Blue from Louisiana on Monday.


The finals were an uphill battle for Laredo as it fell behind 2-0 early on Tuesday against the Fire 2008 from Louisiana. However, they battled back strong winning 4-2 to claim the championship. Montoya recorded his brace; Zapata scored his second goal of the tournament and Rodrigo Romo added a goal.


“It was hard because we had to make a comeback in the last game. We were a little bit nervous in the first 10 or 15 minutes, and after that the boys started to play their game and their style of ball with a lot of possession and a lot of triangulations,” Ibarra said. “That’s how we scored the first one. The second one was a penalty kick. In the second half we missed chances, but at the end we scored a goal.”


Laredo and Fire 2008 from Louisiana now advance along with six other teams to the national tournament. It will run from July 12-16 in Wichita, Kansas. The other teams participating are from Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.