The Ohio Premier club soccer program never had won a regional championship before June 29.

The Ohio Premier club soccer program never had won a regional championship before June 29.

Within the span of a few minutes, it had clinched two.

Moments after the OP Green Under-18 boys team finished off a 5-0 rout of Ohio Galaxies F.C. in their final in the Midwest Regional Cup on June 29 at Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, Indiana, the OP Green U16 boys edged the Milwaukee Bavarians 1-0 in another final.

The winners of each age group advanced to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be held July 26-31 at Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas.

Ohio Premier's teams were the first from the area to win a regional title since 2012, when the Crew Juniors boys won the U19 championship.

"This is a huge step for us," said Luke Kiley, a forward for OP U16 whose older brother, Matt, is on the U18 team. "We hope other teams can follow us. When you're playing in a tournament like this, you never know what to expect and you have to be ready for anything."

Ohio Premier's program accounted for two of the six teams from central Ohio that competed in the Midwest Regional Cup. The others were Crew SC Pre-Academy U18 boys, Blast F.C. U17 boys, Classic Eagles U17 girls and Club Ohio U14 boys.

Ohio Premier U18

Antonio Romanelli converted on a penalty kick in the first half of the final, and OP U18 added four goals in the final 15 minutes to break open the game.

Kingsley Amoakohene, Isaac Arefi, Cole Heilman and Jack Holland scored in the second half.

"It was our fifth game in six days, and even if we felt like we were at 100 percent, we weren't," said Romanelli, a midfielder. "Our opponent had only two or three subs, and we were able to open the game up the longer it went. We owned the run of the game and we were able to take some chances."

Amoakohene, Holland and Romanelli each scored three goals in the tournament.

In pool play, OP U18 defeated Javanon Soccer Club of Louisville, Kentucky, 2-1 on June 24, Scott Gallagher Elite of St. Louis 2-1 on June 25 and Pacesetter Villa Red of Toledo 1-0 on June 26 before a 2-1 win over Omaha F.C. Elite from Nebraska in a semifinal June 28.

Jacob Felicetty, Mark Just, Matt Kiley, Matthew Scoliere and Brady Wittekind paced the defense in front of goalkeepers J.P. Baughman and Brennon Davis.

"This tournament is a marathon, not a sprint. Every game, we got better," coach David Winner said. "Our defenders played like wingbacks. They created such problems with their speed getting forward that the other team's forwards had to worry about marking them sometimes. The whole emphasis was on playing as a team, and that's exactly what we did."

Ohio Premier U16

OP U16's lockdown defense allowed only two goals in the tournament, closing with three consecutive shutouts.

Chris Dowling scored the only goal in the final on a header with about 13 minutes left. That came off a crossing pass from Luke Kiley, whose four goals in the tournament tied for the most among all U16 players.

"I don't score many goals off headers, but I was going to do everything I could to go up and get that ball. I'm happy I could get that goal for our team," said Dowling, a midfielder. "I knew we needed a goal. Everybody was getting tired."

After tying WAZA F.C. East 00 Black of Rochester, Michigan, at 1 on June 24, OP U16 defeated Kings Hammer Academy Red of Wilder, Kentucky, 2-1 on June 25 and Lyons Township Soccer Club Union Showcase of La Grange, Illinois, 1-0 on June 26 before shutting out Elm Grove Soccer Club from Elm Grove, Wisconsin, 1-0 in a semifinal June 28.

"We had lots of resolve. Three consecutive shutouts is very impressive," coach Travis Wall said. "Chris is one of our smaller guys and he isn't known for his heading ability. He was in great position (for the title-clinching goal)."

OP U16's defense was led by Ryan Burke, Ashton Pullie, Derek Rubadeux, Matt Stritar and Matt Walters in front of goalie Bryant Pratt. Walters is a converted forward.

Classics Eagles

Sarina Dirrig's two goals led a balanced offense for Classics Eagles Red U17, which went 2-1 in pool play. Their only loss was to pool champion Elite Girls Academy Maroon of Omaha 2-1 on June 24.

The Eagles defeated Ambassadors F.C. Blue from Twinsburg 3-2 on June 25 and SC Waukesha from Wisconsin 3-0 on June 26.

EGA Maroon went 3-0 in pool play. Like the Eagles, EGA Maroon allowed four goals, but scored eight to the Eagles' seven.

Club Ohio

Club Ohio U14 boys went 1-1-1 in its pool, finishing second.

Sean Fournier, Jack Francisco and Zachary McQuade each scored one goal for Club Ohio, which defeated Cup Gold from Cincinnati 1-0 on June 24, lost to Raiders City from Chicago 3-1 on June 25 and tied West Des Moines (Iowa) United at 1 on June 26.

Crew SC Pre-Academy

Crew SC Pre-Academy U18 boys went 1-2 to finish fourth in its pool.

Jacob Brooks and Ethan Hasson each scored two goals to Crew S.C., which lost to Omaha F.C. Elite 3-1 on June 24 and Galaxy S.C. Blue of Naperville, Illinois, 6-0 on June 25 before finishing with a 4-2 win over Sporting BV Bayern Munich of Overland Park, Kansas, on June 26.

Blast F.C.

While Blast F.C. U17 allowed just four goals in three pool-play games, it scored only one in going 0-1-2 and finishing fourth.

Hector Gomez scored in a 1-all tie against F.C. United of Northfield, Illinois, on June 25. The Blast played Scott Gallagher Elite to a scoreless tie on June 24 and lost to Challenger Crew Juniors Gold of Medina 3-0 on June 26.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave