Congratulations 2018 City Tournament Winners

The 15th of December was not your typical winter day for most of Seattle. The temperature climbed into the low fifties. Not even a tenth of an inch of rain fell from the sky.

It was the kind of day when many busied themselves with holiday decorations or celebrations. There wasn't much to indulge in, sport-wise, except an NFL or NBA game on the television.

Unless, that is, you happened to find yourself at the soccer pitch outside of Ingraham High School. It was there that thunder rumbled. Lightning struck. Legends were made. Legacies cemented.

It was the Girls U19 Championship Game of the Seattle Youth Soccer Association's City Tournament, a special event for the adolescents who participate in it and those who support them. A double-elimination tournament, it's meant to give rec players, some of whom don't also play on club, select or high school teams, an opportunity to experience a playoff-style level of competition.

And not unlike March Madness for college basketball, it's not always the best teams from the regular season who end up winning in the end.

Sometimes teams get lucky. Other times they peak at the right time. Just ask the Ballard Ospreys, who ended up going home with the trophy that day.

During the regular season, the Ospreys weren't the best team. But they had perseverance and grit. The kind that led them to the ultimate victory, even though they dropped their first game of the tournament, a 2-1 loss to the West Seattle Valkyries, the very same team they faced off

against in the final game on that fateful afternoon in North Seattle.

Did the Ospreys have revenge on their minds? Hard to say. What they definitely did have on their minds was an awareness that Rachel Davis, their regular-season leading scorer, who had knee surgery just prior to the tournament, would be relegated to the role of moral support from the sideline.

But in the most trying moments, the best teams are able to dig deep, to find a new way to win. That's what the Ospreys did that day, leaning on third-year player, Genevieve Forrester.

MVPs of the tournament: Caroline and Kali

According to her coach, Kevin Maloy, Genevieve embodies exactly what rec soccer is all about. Week in, week out, Genevieve always made it to practice, year after year. She wasn't someone who had the satisfaction of scoring goals in games. In fact, she had never scored a goal in a game for the Ospreys before. And this was her final game.

Yes, you read that correctly. Her first goal on the final play of her career.

It's almost as if it was drawn up as a case study meant to inspire future players.

("Stick with it. You never know when your hard work will be rewarded. You might end up winning us the championship game of the tournament. Anything is possible if you never give up.")

It was all the more poignant since throughout the game it was far from clear that the Ospreys would even have the opportunity to rise victorious over the regular season first place team, the Valkyries.

The score was tied 0-0 at halftime. At the 60-minute mark, the Ospreys trailed, 0-1. They changed to a more attacking formation, and around the 75-minute mark they won a free kick about 40 yards away from the goal. Olivia Moffett, team captain, having just moved up from defense to midfield, floated a long ball into the penalty area. It bounced. Kali Davis, tournament MVP with seven goals, got a foot to it first and poked it into the side netting.

From that moment forward the entire momentum of the game began to shift, almost like a mass of December clouds overhead.

Right up until the end, there were plenty of opportunities for the Valkyries to put the Ospreys to bed for good. They might well have done just that, if not for Ospreys keeper Caroline Sanders.

Best friends who have encouraged and motivated each other over the years to take their games to the next level. They played most of the final holding down the center midfield

After the semifinal game of the tournament, a 1-0 win over the Woodland Tigers, Caroline informed Coach Maloy that she would not be able to make the championship game. She had a vacation she had arranged months earlier, which it was too late to reschedule. But then at the last minute she decided to cancel the trip after all, a true team player who couldn't bear to miss the opportunity to take the pitch with her teammates one last time.

Caroline made her presence felt, especially down the stretch, making one save after another.

At the end of regulation, the score was knotted up at 1-1.

In the penalty kick phase, a furious back and forth ensued. The Ospreys scored three times, thanks to Kali Davis, Sarah (SJ) Hayward, and the heroic, final effort by Genevieve. The Valkyries scored once, thus leaving the final score at 2-1.

Afterwards, it was a storm the field moment. Coach Maloy would later say that it was the happiest of his life.

The whole thing almost seems too good to be true, as if it had all been drawn up as one big validation of all that rec soccer and the City Tournament are meant to be.

Real it was. Just ask Coach Maloy. Or players such as Isabel Norlen or Hannah Maloy-Collado, who have played rec soccer together from U6 on,

The moment after making the game winning pk to win!

who finished the game holding down the center midfield. None of them are likely to soon forget it.
--
Paul Redman
predman@gmail.com
Ballard Soccer had a great showing in the 2018 City Tournament. Besides the G19 Ospreys, the B19 Red Devils and regular tournament winners finished their Ballard years in 2nd this year. It was an amazing run from both our senior teams as well as many of our other great teams!

B11-D1 Turf Monkeys Winner 7-0
B12-D2 Spitting Cobras of Doom Finalist 1-2
B13-D1 Blizzard Winner 2-1
B15 Riptide Winner 2-1
B19 Red Devils Finalist 1-2
G12-D2 Thunderbirds Finalist 0-1
G13 Shooting Stars Winner 1-0
G19 Osprey Winner 2-1