Attack 91 Blue soccer team to represent Alabama

The Attack 91 Blue U11 (under age 11) Shelby County area soccer club team will represent Alabama in the largest soccer tournament in the world.

The team, composed of players from Pelham, Oak Mountain, Leeds and Briarwood, which recently claimed its eighth tournament championship in the past two years, the Challenge Cup (played in and around Shelby County) will participate in the USA Cup in St. Paul, Minn., in July.

It will be the second girls team from Alabama to ever participate in the prestigious USA Cup, said team coach Mark Morrison.

And, he said, Attack hopes for a match against the No. 1-ranked under 11 team in the country from Chicago, the Chicago Select.

&uot;This team (Chicago Select) will be composed of the best players in and around the Chicago area,&uot; Morrison said. &uot;And another strong under 11 team will come from Canada, where they too make up an All-Star team from an entire province.&uot;

Morrison said the complex hosting the USA Cup boasts 52 fields at one location. He said his team will also participate in opening ceremonies which will resemble an Olympic Games opening ceremony.

More than 40,000 people will fill the main stadium field as the teams parade in representing their states and countries, Morrison said.

Attack will wear an Olympic-style outfit from head to toe and will sport &uot;GRITS&uot; shirts (girls raised in the south) to give their outfit some Southern flavor, Morrison noted.

He said teams from Japan, Germany, Mexico, England, Brazil, Ireland and Canada will be represented.

The &uot;once in a lifetime&uot; soccer experience will also include many clinic opportunities led by some of the best soccer coaches in America during the afternoon, he said.

This trip will not be all work for the 91 Blue, however.

Morrison said the team understands that &uot;all work and no play can make Jack a dull boy.&uot;

He said the team and some 45 family members will fly to Minnesota and plan to have a lot of fun with trips to museums, the Mall of America, amusement parks, river rafting and a movie or two.

And, he said, they will take in a professional soccer game, a professional baseball game and visit with students from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the University of Minnesota.

Steve Bartek, assistant coach, summed it up.

&uot;We’re going up there to represent Alabama and show some people that we play pretty good soccer down here, but most of all, we’re going to let the girls fall in love with the game,&uot; Bartek said. &uot;We feel blessed to have this opportunity that they’ll never forget.&uot;

Before getting ready for St. Paul, however, Morrison said the U11 team will take some time off after winning the recent Challenge Cup.

The U11 team actually played in the Under 12 age division and blew through the competition to claim its second tournament as repeat champion this year.

Attack opened with two convincing wins on the first day of the tournament before running into a tough U12 team from Florida.

The 91 Blue elevated their play in the 2-1 victory. Florida’s only goal came on a penalty kick in the first half. Attack dominated shots on goal by out-shooting their opponents 14-5.

The championship game was played on a rain-soaked field at the Vestavia Complex.

Kayla Campbell and Alex Sager found the net to put the game out of reach as Attack controlled the game from the outset and finally won 2-0.

Lindsey Sillers and Zehra Syed controlled the middle of the field and made many good runs to keep the Homewood Kicks on their heels.

Julia Wimberly controlled things defensively for the Attack. She was supported with aggressive play by Tori Love and Ali Overton.

Many others contributed with play leading up to the championship game. Amy Hale and Meredith Alexander gave up the one penalty score against Florida.

Mallory Morrison led Attack with four assists and one goal of her own. Rachel Bartek had two goals and one assist, but her biggest contribution was her inspired play. She was injured during two of the games.

Missy Shaw had two goals in one game before being injured and had to see limited time on the last day of the tournament.

Alex Blythe opened things up with tackles and good long balls to create great runs for Attack.

Rosemary Brennan and Jenny Johnston were flawless defensively in supporting along the defensive line.

&uot;All in all, it was a very physical tournament, and it took a total team effort to pull off the wins to take home the trophy,&uot; Morrison said.

The following weekend, Attack went on to finish the regular season undefeated and recorded an unbelievable 50 goals to their opponents two for the year.

The Attack Soccer Club has practice fields in the Inverness area behind Soccer Blast