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U16 boys notch milestone win for Virginia Legacy; Jones tabbed state coach of year

The Virginia Legacy Soccer Club Under-16 boys team won its final three Club Champions League matches, outscoring opponents by a combined 11-0 to clinch one of the most significant championships in the club's history earlier this month.

Legacy finished the campaign that runs August-February with a record of 13-1-1 against competition from around the state and Maryland.

"This is a huge accomplishment, not only for the club, but for the area to compete against the Northern Virginia power teams," Legacy Technical Director and U16 coach Bobby O'Brien said. "It's the first championship of this kind for any high school-age boys or girls teams in this area in a league of this magnitude."

Jamestown, Warhill, Grafton, Tabb, York, Menchville, Gloucester high schools and Hampton Roads Academy players comprised the Legacy side, which lost only to McLean in September. The draw came against Braddock Road of Fairfax County.

Legacy's slate also included a win over reigning state-champion Arlington, which defeated McLean for a state title.

The league features 16 teams in a round-robin format.

"The Club Champions League is the top league in Virginia and Maryland, so unlike high school where everyone is broken into six classifications, these are the best of the best teams in areas all around the state and Maryland," O'Brien said.

O'Brien credited the defensive effort of goalkeeper Carey Hutchens along with Zach Brown, Ozzy Huls, Logan Adams and Augie Cooper, who played the majority of every game in the back.

"Ryan Post was a great holding defensive midfield player who wins every ball and keeps the team organized," he said. "Up front, the combination of Ethan McGee, Zay McGee, Daniel Hoffman, Michael Meese and Lex Gonzalez scored nearly all the goals and were basically impossible to contain with how much pressure they can put on the other teams' defense. They create so well, are technical and smart, work very hard and create tons of chances and are great finishers."

Adams, Cooper, Ethan and Zay McGee, Meese, and Gonzalez each are Jamestown players along with Sam Dezzani, Bryce Stutt and Rylan Hoerning. And Bryce Conti will play for Warhill in a spring that should be marked by another competitive Bay Rivers District season if Legacy's performance is any indication.

Last year, York and Smithfield shared a Bay Rivers title although the 10-team district was tight, teams one through nine. O'Brien's Jamestown team finished middle of the pack before being eliminated by Smithfield in the conference semifinals.

The Eagles, 4A champions in 2015, led the area with nine representatives on the Legacy squad.

"There will be a lot of great freshmen coming into the high school scene over the next two years who play on this (Legacy) team and our U15 team," O'Brien said, "and they will keep the area tradition that these teams in the Bay Rivers are going to continually compete for state championships and have a lot of fun battles with each other."

Legacy coach honored

Legacy Director of Coaching Kelvin Jones was named 2016 Virginia Youth Soccer Girls Competitive Coach of the Year on Feb. 11.

Jones received the award, which recognizes girls coaches across all travel platforms, at the annual VYSA Awards Gala in Northern Virginia.

"It's a great honor for myself and the club to be honored amongst all the great coaches throughout Virginia," Jones said. "It's a testament to the girls program and how far it has come over the past three years."

The Fredericksburg native played at Wake Forest before a professional career with the Charleston Battery and Richmond Kickers.

Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-298-5830.

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