Camden Soccer Club’s U16 Boys fought their way through a tough field to claim the championship at the 2018 SSA Chelsea Jekyll Classic Driven by Yokohama, played October 6th and 7th, 2018 at complexes in the Brunswick and Jekyll Island area.
The tournament is part of the SSA Chelsea Classic Driven by Yokohama Tournament Series that hosts over 1,000 teams annually. The boys, led by Coach Colin McDonald kicked off the tournament with a scrappy 1-0 win over a tough Amelia Island team. A lone goal by forward Patrick Russell was the difference and Camden walked away tied atop the standings after the first round of the tournament.
In the second game, Camden faced an SSA Chelsea team playing with home field advantage. The home field proved to make no difference though as Camden rolled to a 7-0 win. Goalkeeper Skyler Courson kept a clean sheet for the second game in a row, and also managed to get in on the scoring after being replaced in goal once Camden had already built a comfortable lead. His header into the left side of the goal off a beautiful feed on a set piece by forward Caeden Rogers put an extra spark of energy into the team that would carry on throughout the tournament.
Goals by CJ Starks, Dominic Penko, Michal Newton, Peyton Rogers, and Caeden Rogers along with a relentless attack by Cameron Hopkins led the team to victory while a strong defensive effort from Newton, Harrison Rutherford, Bowan Giesbrecht, David Beard and Levi Casey made sure the SSA Chelsea team remained scoreless and as a group would suffocate opponents attack throughout the tournament.
Game three pitted Camden up against another SSA Chelsea team but this time from Atlanta. Strong midfield play by Jaden Fish and Harry Reaves were key in a hard fought 3-1 victory and goals by Penko, Starks and C. Rogers paced the club. A strong defense once again was crucial and Camden only allowed one goal, their first of the tournament.
For the third game in a row, Camden would face an SSA Chelsea team, this time for the Championship. Once again playing a Coastal team with home-field advantage, Camden proved that the home field made no difference. This time the attack would be led by Elliot Newton, whose two goals would be crucial in sealing a 5-2 win to claim their first tournament championship. Starks, Penko and Russell added to the final tally.
After the final whistle, Camden could finally breathe a sigh of relief and relish in victory. Smiles were across the face of every kid, and parents, who have supported this team through highs and lows over the last two years were there with congratulatory hugs and pictures. Although the Camden Soccer Club’s U16 Boys team was the only Camden team to play in the tournament, several club players guest played on various other teams and played key roles in runner-up finishes in the U12 Girls and U12 Boys divisions, bringing more hardware home to Camden.
-Write up by Mark H. Penko