Ohio Premier Soccer Club fields 55 teams consisting of players ranging in age from 7 to 19, but does its best to emphasize a "one organization" approach -- even incorporating the word "family" into its logo.
That's one reason Ohio Premier is so proud to be represented by four teams in the Midwest Regional Cup, which runs from Friday, June 23, through Wednesday, June 28, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The OP Green Under-15, U18 and U19/20 boys teams advanced by winning State Cup championships, while the OP Green U17 boys team qualified as a representative of the Midwest Regional League.
"That is the standard and expectation we have here," said Alan Yost, coach of the OP Green U17 boys. "To get four teams into one regional is very, very nice. I am not surprised because of the consistent play and the coaches we have. The biggest thing it says to me is we have proved we can compete with and beat anybody at any time."
Two other area boys teams -- Club Ohio's Green U16 and Green U15 -- also are headed to Sioux Falls. They qualified as a State Cup champion and a wild card, respectively.
OP's Green U16 and U18 boys won regional championships last year, the first for the area since the Crew Juniors boys won the U19 title in 2012.
More than 270 preliminary games will be played as boys and girls US Youth Soccer State Cup champions, select wildcards and Midwest Regional League qualifiers in the U13 through U19 age groups compete. All of the age groups have been divided into three- or four-team brackets, with each team playing a game within its bracket June 23, Saturday, June 24, and Sunday, June 25.
The bracket winners advance to semifinals Tuesday, June 27, with regional finals being played the next day.
Regional champions in each age group advance to the U.S. Youth Soccer Association National Championships, scheduled for July 25-30 in Frisco, Texas.
According to coach Travis Wall, OP U18 Green is coming off its sixth consecutive State Cup championship -- and that is a never-ending source of pride.
"Every year, it gets harder because the target gets bigger and bigger," said Wall, whose team also was national runner-up last year. "We're primarily a team of (high school) juniors and we won the State Cup final in double overtime (2-1 over Cincinnati United Premier). We won the state semifinal in overtime, too. Every other team you play thinks they are getting closer to knocking off the top team, and that pushes us so much harder to make sure that does not happen."
Defender/midfielder Matt Walters, a Bowling Green commit, leads a group whose other top players include forward Luke Kiley and goalkeeper Bryant Pratt. They have committed to Georgetown and Indiana, respectively.
Other leaders have included forward Ben Sobotka and midfielders Sam Mason and Colin McCort. McCort also is headed to Bowling Green.
"We pride ourselves on grit. We've been in so many close games the past few years," Wall said. "We do well in those games because we have a high work rate in training."
That OP Green U17 had a regional berth wrapped up before the State Cup was a relief, according to Yost, whose team had to push the reset button early this season after defender David Djelmis was injured while snowboarding. That prompted Yost to implement a 3-5-2 formation, and his team immediately adapted.
"I'd never taught (a 3-5-2 formation) before and it took awhile to research, but we made it work within what we have. We've lost one game since (switching from a 4-3-3 formation)," said Yost, who also is Capital's men's coach. "You must have three very special defenders to make it work, and we do. Nine kids on this team have a GPA of 4.0 or higher. I showed them what we wanted to do and they took to it immediately."
Top players have included forward Noah Boffo, midfielders Max Brennan, Christian Buendia, Drew Fischer and Mitchell Hughes and defenders Ethan Marshall, Sam Polonia and Owen Sullivan. Jacob Castro and Mason Taylor have shared goalie duties.
Marshall and Sullivan helped St. Charles to a Division I state runner-up finish last year.
OP Green U15 coach Billy Thompson, who also co-coaches the U19/20 team with David Winner, said he largely was a bystander as his younger team outscored five State Cup opponents 17-0.
"I'm a big proponent of putting responsibility on the players," said Thompson, who played for the Crew in its first four seasons (1996-99). "That's our basic principle, to have the guys make good decisions to respond to whatever the opponents show us. They've embraced that. They push themselves and each other. We haven't had the toughest schedule this year, so we are looking forward to the regional and seeing how we can perform."
Forward Drew Clement, defender Jevon Diawara, defender/midfielder Chris Geddis and goalie Lorenzo Nieves are among the top players for OP Green U15.
The OP Green U19/20 boys team largely consists of last year's OP Green U18 players who won a regional championship. According to Thompson, leaders of that team include forwards Ian Black and Brady Whittekind and defender Matt Kiley.
Black plays at Indiana, Kiley plays for Ohio State and Whittekind plays at Ohio Wesleyan.
Partly because U.S. Soccer age guidelines changed, Club Ohio is sending two teams to the Midwest Regional Cup rather than one, as it did last year.
Club Ohio U14 went 1-1-1 last year to finish second in its pool.
Birth-year registration mandates changed in August 2016. Age group cut-offs now are January 1, as opposed to Aug. 1 in previous years.
"Six or seven players off that team jumped two years, but the majority are on the U15 team," said Steve Dawson, Club Ohio's coaching director. "I'm not sure if the goals for the U16 team were as big as (for) U15, but they did end up winning state in a penalty shootout. They made the key plays and the key saves at the right time."
Club Ohio U16 Green 1 finished the state tournament with back-to-back 3-2 wins, the second coming in a shootout over Kings Hammer Academy in the final. Goalie Theren Handlon stopped two penalty kicks to seal the 4-3 shootout win.
Other top players include forward/midfielder Jaggar Brooker, midfielders Sean Carrier and Ethan Love, defender/midfielder Connor DesRoches and forward Jack Francisco.
Brooker, who according to Dawson is the team's leading scorer, primarily has played forward because of personnel and injuries. Francisco was injured late in the season, and as of last week, his status for the Midwest Regional Cup was uncertain, Dawson said.
Despite Club Ohio U15 falling short of a state title, Dawson described its roster as "loaded."
"They should be a force at regional. The lineup has changed a little bit as the team has evolved, but they have lots of potential," Dawson said. "Their issue is just getting together as a team. They didn't play all that well in the state final, but when they are on form, they are very talented."
Leaders include forward Chris Guerra, defenders Nate Logozzo and Ryan Walters, goalie Trent McConnaughey and midfielders Matthew McLaughlin and Young Mu Lee.
McLaughlin was a freshman starter on Cleveland St. Ignatius' Division I state championship team last year. That was the third consecutive state title for the Wildcats, who are coached by Mike McLaughlin, Matthew's father.
Both Club Ohio teams are coached by Mike Lawrence.