Va. youth soccer team places 2nd in national championship

Goal Keeper Riley Melendez deflects a ball during BRYC 01 Elite's game against Florida Elite.
Goalkeeper Riley Melendez deflects a ball during BRYC 01 Elite’s game against Florida Elite. BRYC 01 Elite is a team from Fairfax, Virginia. (Courtesy BRYC)

BRYC 01 Elite players charge toward their goalie, Riley Melendez, after beating The USA Stars of California. The national semifinal game was won with penalty kicks.
BRYC 01 Elite players charge toward their goalie, Riley Melendez, after beating The USA Stars of California. The national semifinal game was won with penalty kicks. (Courtesy BRYC)

BRYC 01 Elite's 2-1 semifinal win came after two 10 minute over-time sessions and penalty kicks. Goalie Riley Melendez stopped three penalty kicks while teammates Alex Taylor and Jaden Steele connected on theirs.
BRYC 01 Elite’s 2-1 semifinal win came after two 10-minute overtime sessions and penalty kicks. Goalie Riley Melendez stopped three penalty kicks, while teammates Alex Taylor and Jaden Steele connected on theirs. (Courtesy BRYC)

The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series U14 Finalist - BRYC 01 Elite of Fairfax, Va.
A U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series U14 finalist — BRYC 01 Elite of Fairfax, Virginia.

BRYC 01 Elite team members are (not in order as pictured): Tiffany Bui of Alexandria, Rachel Castro of Waterford, Miwa Johnstone of Vienna, Meghan Kenefick of Oakton, Hannah Ko of Centreville, Jada Konte of Woodbridge, Grace Lemley of Springfield, Riley McCarthy of Clifton, Riley Melendez of Annandale, Aria Nagai of Oak Hill, Lexa Rabinowitch of Burke, Jaden Steele of Potomac Falls, Alex Taylor of Vienna, Lauren Teuschl of Oakton, Jordyn Turner of Fairfax, Lauren Waniel of Clifton, and Victoria Weber of Springfield. (Courtesy BRYC)

BRYC 01 Elite, ready for battle before the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series U14 semifinal game.
BRYC 01 Elite, ready for battle before the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series U14 semifinal game. (Courtesy BRYC)

Denise Steele, parent of Jaden Steele, made door signs for each player to cheer them on.
Denise Steele, parent of Jaden Steele, made door signs for each player to cheer them on. (Courtesy BRYC)

The Fairfax, Va. team received a lot of support from the community.
The Fairfax, Virginia, team received a lot of support from the community. (Courtesy BRYC)

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Goal Keeper Riley Melendez deflects a ball during BRYC 01 Elite's game against Florida Elite.
BRYC 01 Elite players charge toward their goalie, Riley Melendez, after beating The USA Stars of California. The national semifinal game was won with penalty kicks.
BRYC 01 Elite's 2-1 semifinal win came after two 10 minute over-time sessions and penalty kicks. Goalie Riley Melendez stopped three penalty kicks while teammates Alex Taylor and Jaden Steele connected on theirs.
The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series U14 Finalist - BRYC 01 Elite of Fairfax, Va.
BRYC 01 Elite, ready for battle before the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series U14 semifinal game.
Denise Steele, parent of Jaden Steele, made door signs for each player to cheer them on.
The Fairfax, Va. team received a lot of support from the community.

WASHINGTON — A soccer team from Virginia has returned from the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Texas having finished number two in the nation in the girls’ U14 group.

“We can’t believe that we were there. None of use expected to really get that far and win all those games,” said center back Jaden Steele.

The Braddock Road Youth Club 01 Elite of Fairfax, Virginia, spent a week at the tournament in Texas defeating teams from Ohio, Florida and California before losing the national championship game to the defending champions from Michigan.

It was a close, hard-fought game, said Steele, who also notes that a fellow player was roughed up during the only goal that was scored.

“They collided with our goalie and she got hit in the face and went down and [then] they got the goal,” Steele said with a sigh.

All the players are from northern Virginia and live in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties. Everyone on the team is a rising freshman or sophomore, so they’ll have another shot at the championship next year in a different age group.

“I just want to thank everyone who supported us along the way,” Steele said. “It was really fun, and really intense and crazy.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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