CLOVER — The Clover Parks and Recreation Department closed the door on the fall youth soccer season with championship tournament play at various age levels.
“The season concluded with exciting and hotly-contested postseason play,” commented Donald Johnson, program coordinator for the town of Clover.
Clover teams participate in an established league of multiple communities, including Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Tega Cay and Steele Creek.
During the regular season, Clover was host to over 100 games featuring more than 50 teams among the five communities. Teams in various divisions were geared up for championship runs in tournament play the past two weeks, following an exciting regular season.
This season, at Clover Community Park, Clover Rec hosted its in-house U8 coed tournament. There were U10 boys, U10 girls and U15 boys tournament games, including championship games in U10 boys and U15 boys.
Clover Community Park also was home to all of the U12 girls tournament games. Clover placed several finalists in the six community league tournaments, of which two tournaments featured an all-Clover championship.
The U15 boys’ championship was the main event.
“El Clásico,” as some refer to whenever Clover heavyweights Revolution and Outlaws play in their friendly rivalry, had nearly 100 spectators.
As expected, the game was close throughout as the No. 3 seeded Outlaws outlasted No.1 seeded Revolution to win in a penalty shootout and avenge an early season loss.
In U12 girls action under the lights on Thursday night, the No. 3 seeded Eagles were able to defend home soil and bring home a championship, defeating the hot No.5 seeded Lake Wylie Pumas.
The U10 boys championship was another all-Clover final. Both teams were familiar with each other, having played twice during the regular season.
The No. 4 seeded Avengers, however, found their winning formula late in the season and rode the momentum all the way to a championship victory over No. 2 seeded Fireballs to close out the fall 2012 season at Clover Community Park.
Consistent effort and play provided the U12 boys’ No.2 seeded Vipers another championship appearance. They stayed calm in the face of adversity and defeated the scrappy No. 4 seeded Steele Creek Yellow Jackets at Allison Creek to win the title that eluded them last spring.
For the U10 girls, the No. 2 seeded Eagles fell short of their championship aspirations to the No. 1 seeded Lake Wylie Lightning in Lake Wylie.
The U10 girls Clover teams had excellent seasons as the Phoenix made a semifinal appearance as well.
“The 2013 spring season has a promising outlook for these girls,” noted Johnson.
In the only division that did not include a Clover finalist, the No. 3 seeded Fort Mill Pattinson defeated No. 1 seeded Fort Mill Cartpentiro.
The one Clover team in this division, the Intimidators, had a successful season, finishing 6-1-1 and earning a No. 2 seed for the tournament.
The future of Clover Recreation soccer was on display at the U8 coed championship. Both finalists’ – the Vipers and the Raptors – lone defeats were to each other.
Going into this matchup, either team could have won. The No. 1 seeded Vipers were able to win the season series and the championship, defeating the No. 2 seeded Raptors.
“Both teams played their hearts out and there really wasn’t a loser in this one,” Johnson said.
“The Clover Recreation Department would like to thank all of the volunteer coaches and their staffs for another successful season,” Johnson said. “We certainly couldn’t do it without you.
“We’d also like to thank park Superintendent Scott Moses and staff for outstanding fields.”
Johnson said the rec department’s commitment to youth soccer has been ongoing through the years.
“Our youth soccer reaches ages three to 15,” he noted. “Most rec departments appeal to ages three to 12.”
Said Johnson, “We’ve consistently had quality soccer programs the last 13 to 14 years.”
Johnson said construction of a new soccer complex to include four lighted fields was approved to meet the growing demands of the sport.
“Youth soccer is a popular sport in Clover,” he added. “Attendance is on the upswing throughout the community.”
And the spring season is just over four months away.