Northern Stars U19 soccer finish year

Youth Soccer

NIAGARA, Wis. — Northern Stars U19 soccer team closed out its season at this month’s USA Cup in Blaine, Minn.

USA Cup featured 1,150 teams from 20 countries and 20 states.

“The Stars had the opportunity to have two guest players from Uganda play with as well as two guest players from Minnesota,” said Coach Greg Kulas. “The players from Uganda were part of a youth soccer club that is spending a month in the US and playing at several different soccer tournaments.

“All four guest players made significant contributions to the team during the weekend.”

In their first game against the Minnesota Thunder, the seventh-ranked team in Minnesota, the Stars got off to a slow start and trailed 4-0 at halftime.

They regrouped at halftime, and outscored the Thunder 2-1 in the second half, losing by a 5-2 score. The goals were scored by Caleb Plumley and Ben Backlund.

In the evening game against Lakeville, the ninth-ranked team in Minnesota, the Stars fell 2-1.

After a scoreless first half, the Stars scored first when Jeremy Kizito from Uganda put an 18-yard shot into the lower left corner of the net. That lead held up until a Lakeville player headed a crossing pass past keeper Caleb Bryant with six minutes to play.

Lakeville scored on a corner kick with less than two minutes left to decide the game.

“We played with great intensity and aggressiveness, and dominated possession throughout the game,” Kulas said.

In the final game, the Stars defeated the Thunder Bay Chill 2-1.

“We conceded a first-half goal on a corner kick, but again played with great intensity and effort,” Kulas said. “Early in the second half, Caleb made several spectacular saves to keep the score 1-0.”

Halfway through the second period, Kizito fed Dane Stanchina with a through ball that Stanchina placed into the right corner of the net to tie the game.

With two minutes to play, Michael Kulas hit a direct kick 50 yards to Stanchina behind the defense.

“Dane calmly dribbled in and placed the ball past the keeper for the deciding goal,” coach Kulas noted.

Thunder Bay entered the game with a tournament 2-0 record.

Dane Stanchina, Will McCormick, Lee Hedtke and Treyden Boyer closed out their Stars’ careers at the tournament.

“The tourney was a great finish,” Kulas said. “All four started playing Stars soccer at a young age, and are excellent soccer players and fine young men. They will be missed.”