The Club Ohio Under-17 and U18 Green 1 boys soccer teams are returning to a familiar setting.
Both squads earned a return trip to the U.S. Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Cup, which runs Friday, June 21, through Wednesday, June 26, in Saginaw, Michigan.
Club Ohio U17 Green 1 qualified for regional for the third consecutive year by winning a state title May 19, defeating Cincinnati Cup Gold 6-1 in the final. Competing at U16 last year, the squad won a regional title to advance to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships, where it went 0-2-1.
"(Qualifying for regional is) the hardest thing," coach Mike Lawrence said. "To get back is always a great accomplishment. (The U17 team) is hoping to get back to the final and advance. It's been a good run for them so far. Just to get back in, that's our goal every year."
Among the key players for the U17 team are forwards Chris Guerra (Worthington Kilbourne High School) and Brandon Kim (Kilbourne), midfielders Matthew McLaughlin (Cleveland St. Ignatius) and Jayden Tharp (Dublin Scioto), midfielder/defender Jason Stewart (Olentangy Orange), defenders Braden Shoaf (Dublin Coffman) and Ryan Walters (Marys-ville) and goalkeeper Trent McConnaughey (Coffman).
Club Ohio U18 Green 1, which also is coached by Lawrence, lost to Cup Gold 3-1 in the state final May 19, but earned an at-large regional berth through National League play. It will be the squad's fourth consecutive regional appearance.
Key players for the U18 team include forwards Ludwig Conrad (Olentangy Liberty), Jack Francisco (DeSales), forward/midfielder Francis Nardiello Smith (New Albany) and defenders Connor DesRoches (Coffman) and Jacob Grant (Westerville North).
Also qualifying for regional for Club Ohio was the U16 Green 1 boys squad, which defeated Cincinnati TFA Elite 2-1 in two overtimes in the state final May 19 as midfielder/forward Jayden Lunsford (Scioto) scored the winning goal.
The team lost to TFA Elite 2-0 in a state semifinal last year.
"This will be the first regional for this group," said coach John Lawrence, Mike's brother. "It's a very talented team. This is three years in the making. We've come together quite well over the last three years, so this is a special moment for the boys."
Other key players for the U16 team include forward Braden Cunningham (Scioto), midfielders Mustapha Kinteh (Gahanna) and Ethan Smythe (Dublin Jerome), defenders Nate Erre (Upper Arlington), Emmanuel Frimpong (Cristo Rey) and Camden Herring (Jonathan Alder) and goalie Ethan Smith (Solon).
Regional champions in each age group advance to the national championships July 23-28 in Overland Park, Kansas.
Ohio Premier will have eight teams competing at regional, including seven in U.S. Club Soccer's Midwest Regional that begins Friday, June 21, and concludes Monday, June 24, in Waukegan and Libertyville, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago.
Qualifying for the U.S. Youth Soccer's Midwest Regional Cup was the U19 NL boys team, which defeated Cincinnati Cup Gold 3-0 in the state final May 19 and earned an automatic berth to the national championships in Kansas by winning the National League-Blue Division title with a 4-0-2 record.
"Our goal at the beginning year was we wanted to go undefeated and we want to win the State Cup, Regional Cup and nationals, so regional doesn't mean anything, but we still want to go undefeated," said coach Alan Yost, who also is the men's coach at Capital. "That's what we're trying to do. It's going to be a tough task, but we have a really solid group."
Key players for the NL U19 team include forwards Noah Boffo (New Albany/Xavier) and Drew Fischer (New Albany/Colgate), midfielders Christian Buendia (St. Charles/St. Louis) and Braden Durbin (Pickerington North/Ohio State), defender Owen Sullivan (St. Charles/Ohio State) and goalie Mason Taylor (Marysville/St. Louis).
The U19 Green NPL boys team advanced to U.S. Club Soccer's Midwest Regional by defeating Sporting Padula 2-1 in the state final June 2.
Regional champions in each age group advance to the National Cup, which will be held July 19-23 in Commerce City, Colorado.
"There's always a lot to play for, but winning the State Cup and going to regional is always good," said coach Nick Roberts, who also is the men's coach at Urbana.
Key players for the U19 Green NPL team include forwards Christopher Lytus (Westerville South) and Ethan Swallow (Lima Shawnee), midfielders Anthony Cunningham (Big Walnut), Luke Fassett (Jerome) and Cameron Tenwalde (Shawnee), defender Ali Jeylani (Briggs) and goalie John Riley O'Toole (Wellington).
The U17 Green boys team advanced to regional by defeating Cleveland Impact United 5-3 in the state final June 2. It was the team's second consecutive state title.
Forward Brady West (St. Charles) had three goals and an assist in the final.
Other key players include goalie Reilly Conley (Thomas Worthington) and midfielders Enrique Monzalvo (Westerville Central) and Crossen Schoch (Jerome).
The U16 Green girls team qualified for regional by defeating Cleveland Excalibur 4-1 in the state final June 2.
Among the team's key players are forwards Cecilia Dapino (UA), MacKenzie Duff (Coffman) and Hannah Heald (Orange), midfielders MacKenzie Hessick (Hilliard Darby), Faith Grisdale (New Albany) and Erin Tracy (Watterson), defenders Karsten Bucci (Orange) and Abigail Ullum (Hilliard Bradley) and goalie Olivia Alford (Coffman).
The team is coached by Katie Robinson, who also is the women's coach at Wittenberg.
The U13 Green girls team advanced to regional by beating Wooster Ohio Striker United 7-1 in the state final June 2.
"I told the parents last August the goal was to win a national championship," coach Bill Ho said. "OP is a very competitive club and has a great, rich tradition. It would be great to win a national championship. Goal No. 1 is to help develop the kids. We want to set some goals for the kids so that they can look at it as we're building towards something."
Key players for the U13 Green team include midfielders Sarah Kelly (Dublin), Alexis Knisley (Worthington) and Aspen Scythes (South Point), defenders Ellie Crenshaw (Dublin) and Bailey Kerins (Hilliard) and goalie Ella Lowrie (Powell).
Three teams -- U18/19 ECNL boys, U15 boys and U13 boys -- applied directly to compete at regional.
Among the key players for the U18/19 ECNL squad are forwards Brigham Kannally (Delaware) and Ashvin Rajmohan (Liberty), midfielders Dominic Antronica (Olentangy Berlin) and Zachary McQuade (Scioto) and defender Drew Hanley (DeSales).
The team is coached by Jason Griffiths and Chris Baer. Griffiths is the men's coach at Otterbein.
Key players for the U15 team include forwards Derrick Harris (New Albany), Trent Maisano (Watterson) and Wassim Metatla (Darby), midfielders Jackson Hospel (Jerome), Jake Knapke (Jerome) and Andre Roberts (Coffman) and defenders Jacob Honner (Jerome) and Aden Nowell (Westerville Central).
"This team is ready," coach Aaron Linden said. "They've been playing very well."
Among the key players for the U13 squad are forwards Luke Hanlon, Landon Krendl and Jake Ziolo, midfielders William King, Brady McGlone and Sagar Patel, defender Griffin D'Onofrio and goalie A.J. Piela.
"I'm excited and the kids are, too," coach Mic Rogers said. "This is the first time they've had the opportunity to compete at regional. Hopefully, we can catch a couple of breaks and get some good results."
The Sporting Padula U14 blue girls team earned a berth in the U.S. Club Soccer Midwest Regional by defeating the Cleveland Cobras 3-1 in the state final June 2.
The team is coached by Gino Padula, who also is the club director and a former professional player who helped the Columbus Crew win the 2008 MLS Cup title.
The roster consists of forward Izzy Niermeyer, midfielders Jo Caravetta, Josie Gruber, Sophia Roush, Ella Schneider and Lauren Thomas, forwards/midfielders Abigail Colvin and Macey Malo, defenders Emma Groves, Tori Haines, Taylor Himmelreich, Meredith Johnson, Alena Keenan and Mia Potter and goalie Abigail Onstad.
"We're very proud," Padula said. "We started with these girls three, four years ago when they played in one of the lower divisions and three years later they finished as (state) champions and we made the regional, so it's a big achievement for this team."
Sporting Padula, which is based in Westerville, was founded in 2011.