The most successful Washington Timbers soccer team in club history has a date with destiny Monday.
After falling down 1-0 within the first 10 minutes, the U-14 Red girls scored three goals in a row to defeat Willamette United Levante, of West Linn, 3-1 for the Oregon State Cup title May 7, at the Tualatin Hills Recreational Center.
“They scored that first goal and celebrated like they had won the cup,” said Timbers coach Cliff Samodurov. “From that point on, we owned the game.”
The win propels the Timbers into the U.S. Youth Soccer Regional Championship June 20 to 25, in Boise. This tournament features 16 teams from Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. The top eight advance to the quarterfinals. From there, it’s just three more wins without a loss to become champions.
“This is the first Timbers team to make it to the regional championship at the highest level, and we hope to make our community proud with a great showing,” Samodurov said. “If you can get out of pool play, that’s quite an accomplishment. Once you’re in the quarterfinals, anything can happen.”
The Reds rode a wave of momentum after eliminating the Capital Timbers, the defending state cup champions from Salem, in the semifinals.
“The reason we won is because we wanted to play for each other and make it further than we ever had before,” said LuLu Sadler.
Ninety minutes of soccer resulted in no goals for either team. The first round of the shootout ended in a 3-3 stalemate. It stayed that way until one of the Capital Timbers’ players missed and Olivia Fothergill scored the winning goal for the Washington Timbers.
“We never gave up and fought through everything to get there,” said Adrianna Leon. “Everyone put forth a lot of effort to win this. Soccer has been our number-one priority for a long time.”
This team trains together two to three times a week. In addition, each player puts in an extra day of work to get ready for the games on the weekends.
“That’s a lot of soccer,” Samodurov said. “These girls just have a lot of passion for this game. It’s fun to look back and see how all their hard work has paid off.”
Ask any of the Timbers Reds and they will tell you they are determined to break new ground for the Washington Timbers at the regional level. Kylie Ellett’s life revolves around school, soccer and her teammates who have become like family.
“This is what I love and this is what I want to continue to do,” she said. “That rush you get from your coaches and teammates really makes me want to come out and play this every day. They really are my life.”