Kennedy, Bell Lead Club Teams to National Championships
July 2, 2008
EASTON, Pa. - Rising sophomore defender Caitlin Kennedy and incoming freshman Julia Bell report to Lafayette's preseason camp in mid-August, as the Leopards will begin to prepare for their 2008 campaign. However, before they step foot onto College Hill, both will participate in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Little Rock, Ark. after winning their regional tournaments in Portland, Maine over the weekend.
Kennedy's club squad, U-18 FC Delco Fury (Pa.), advanced to the championship with two consecutive 5-0 victories in the semifinal and final. Kennedy can now look ahead to the national tournament in at the end of July.
"I am very excited about how well my club team performed up in Maine," Kennedy said. "Winning and celebrating after the regional final was probably one of the greatest moments in my career as a soccer player and I will remember it forever. I have been playing with these girls since I was 12 or 13 years old and we've all shared the common goal of one day competing at nationals. However, this weekend all of our hard work and persistence proved us to be the best team in the tournament and our well-deserved win has given us an opportunity of a lifetime that many will never get to experience. I feel very honored to be able to play against some of the best soccer teams in the country. I only hope we take full advantage of our ticket to nationals and perform just as well down in Arkansas as we did up in Maine."
Bell, who plays for the U-17 FC Bucks Vipers (Pa.), helped her team qualify for the championships with a 1-0 victory over the New York state champions in the final. Both teams are the Pennsylvania state champions for their respective age bracket.
Kennedy started 16 games for the Leopards her freshman season, while Bell comes to Lafayette a three-time state champion at Villa Marie High School (Pa.).
Like Kennedy, Bell is eager to get down to Arkansas and play against some of the best competition in the country.
"I really think making it to nationals is great," Bell said. "I am really looking forward to playing against some great teams."
Lafayette assistant coach Brian Herr is proud to have Lafayette well-represented at the national championship tournament.
"Obviously, we are proud of and excited for both Caitlin and Julie," Herr said. "The opportunity to play for a national championship on any level is a wonderful achievement. The event will provide them with an invaluable experience and can only benefit our program in the fall. To have these two young ladies representing the college and program on such a stage is tremendous. We certainly wish them both the best of luck in Arkansas."
The championship round is a round-robin format set for July 22-27 with regional winners from around the country joining them. The top two teams from the round robin competition will advance to the national championship game.
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