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Smithtown Arsenal wins U-16 national title
Suddenly, those hot summer practices don’t seem that bad. Then again, nothing is ever that bad after winning a national title. A 2-0 victory over Georgia’s GSA Phoenix on Sunday sewed up the Under-16 National Championship for Smithtown Arsenal at the US Youth Soccer National Championships that began July 23 in Overland Park, Kansas.
The team is the seventh LI Junior Soccer League team, and the first since 2007, to win a National Championship, according to a news release.
T.J. Butzke opened the scoring 12 minutes into the first half of the championship game. Harrison Weilbacher added the second tally in the 63rd minute.
Butzke received the Golden Ball award, given to the top offensive player of the tournament. He was also named to the “Best of Eleven” team, along with Steven Dovi and goaltender Noah Varonier. Varonier won the Golden Glove Award, given to the tournament’s top goaltender, according to a news release.
Smithtown Arsenal won three games on its path to the Sunday final at the youth soccer summit. They opened up the preliminary round with a 5-0 victory over Arizona’s CCV Stars. Moosah Khanat scored three goals in the victory. Butzke and Weilbacher added the other two.
A 2-1 win over Georgia’s NASA Elite followed, with Butzke breaking a 1-1 tie in the 49th minute. Christopher Hettler had tied the match in the 31st minute.
Smithtown topped California’s Fullerton Rangers, 1-0, in the final game of the preliminary round on Friday. Hettler scored the game-winner 18 minutes into the first half. Fullerton was the two-time national champion and had yet to allow a goal this season.
Smithtown qualified for the eight-team national tournament by winning the Region I championship July 2, defeating the Arlington (Va.) Strikers, 1-0, in Rhode Island.