Lakewood Ranch youth soccer team to compete for national championship

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MANATEE COUNTY - The Lakewood Ranch Chargers 13U soccer team is going national. They charged into the Champions Cup tournament by winning the state title last week.

By virtue of beating the West Florida Flames, the Chargers under-13’s will be heading for Aurora, Colorado to duke it out for the Champions Cup, which is awarded to the national championship team.

"We're there with 13 winners from around the country. It’s just exciting for the area to see boys who have put so much time and effort into winning the state title. Now, they are going for a national title," says head coach Tim Mulqueen.

The team went 8-1 this past season on their way to the state title, and they outscored their opponents 52-6! That means they are strong on both offense and defense.

A balanced attack bodes well. “I think there is great chemistry with the team, but the final ingredient is talent. Every coach will tell you that you that you can have kids that stay together, or are nice kids, but the final ingredient is talent and they are a talented bunch of kids," says Coach Mulqueen.

16 boys, along with Mulqueen and assistant Neil Jenkins, leave for Colorado on Tuesday. "It is exciting for this area to have a group of 16 kids who are special. We won the Florida division. We play a team from Washington in our first game. We play Chicago in our second game, and we play a team from Fullerton, Los Angeles in our 3rd game. We are very excited to play teams from all around the country."