PSC ADVANCES TO STATE CUP QUARTER FINALS
The Portage Soccer Club (PSC) U-16 boys team advanced to the State Cup quarter finals for the second year in a row with a 4-2 victory over the Brighton Express. The Brighton team is coached by former Portage Soccer standout Paul Kato. PSC, coached by David Rice, Vu Le and Rob Phillips will now face the Michigan Wolves, the top ranked team in the state and region, and #3 nationally, on Saturday, May 19th in Saginaw.
The Brighton game was a homecoming of sorts for Paul Kato. The Kalamazoo area soccer community has missed Paul since he left, but we’ve watched with great interest as he’s worked magic with his Mason High School squads, earning multiple Coach of the Year honors along the way. Not surprisingly, most of his Brighton Soccer Club teams have also done very well. Paul was a standout player, graduating from Spring Arbor University in 1983, after which he coached a variety of teams, including Portage Northern High School. He was also one of the original members of the Portage Soccer Club Board of Directors back in the late 1980’s and served as its first Director of Coaches. Having a respected friend on the other side added to the drama of the match on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the Portage Soccer Complex.
PSC struck first in the 13th minute on a goal by Nam Le following a shot by Tyler Reist. The second goal (26:00) was scored in similar fashion on an initial shot by Jake McKenny and a rebound shot into the far corner by Kaj Carlson. The half ended 2-0 with PSC controlling play.
In the second half, PSC extended its lead on the most spectacular goal of the game. Casey Higgason launched a throw-in into the box to a waiting Tyler Reist. Reist artfully back-headed the throw into the far corner. With a 3-0 lead things got interesting. Brighton refused to fold and scored in the 18th minute on a rebound shot following a direct kick. Six minutes later Brighton closed to 3-2 on another rebound shot and the intensity of play on both sides increased yet another notch.
PSC closed out the scoring in the 34th minute when Nam Le scored again following a shot by Matt Phillips with a sliding effort and finish to the near post.
The PSC team competes in the West Michigan Youth Soccer Association (WMYSA) U-16 Elite division with the best teams from the Grand Valley Soccer Association (GVSA) and Capital Area Soccer League (CASL). The Elite league offers high caliber competition where 5 of its 8 teams qualified for the 32 team State Cup field in 2007.
Prepared by Portage Soccer Club 16-May-2007