RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As the CASL Academy Junior Squad prepares for another chance, the sting from a year ago still haunts them.
“That was pain I never felt before that was agonizing,” recalled head coach Mark Jonas.
A year ago Jonas’ soccer team was in regional play in Louisiana. His boys were one step away from the nationals when the rains came.
Field conditions became unplayable so tournament officials turned to the flip of a coin.
“To be working toward one goal for the entire year and to have that one goal decided by a coin flip was quite brutal to say the least,” Jonas said.
The coin flip was not kind to the CASL squad. All their hard work and effort doomed by a game of chance.
“I just really wanted to do well and we were knocked out on a coin toss which really sucked,” Ian Holdaway said.
At the time, losing without even getting the chance to play was hard to get over. But the players soon realized their championship dreams were not gone. The entire team would return a year later. Motivation would not be a problem.
“My coach was like the first thing he said on the first day of training was we’re going to win a national championship and we still hold that grudge from last year at regionals and we’re going to win it this year,” said goalie Trace Alphin.
Now they have that chance. After winning State Cup and regionals, they’ll head off to Frisco, Texas next week. They hope their fate this time around will be decided on the field.
“To finally pursue this dream is just a heck of a chance for us as kids to do what we love to do,” Luke Hille said.