MARQUETTE - A 3-0 loss to the RYSA (Minn.) Scorpions left the UPFA United boys U-15 soccer squad with a second place finish in the A bracket of the 2013 Schwan's USA Cup July 12-14 in Blaine, Minn.
The squad posted a 3-0 record en route to the title match, beating BSA (Iowa) Elite, 1-0; DePere (Wis.) Select, 4-3; and Thunder Bay (Ontario, Canada) Chill, 3-2, in an overtime penalty kick finisher.
According to tournament organizers, the tourney is the largest youth soccer tournament, with teams representing 17 states and 17 countries.
The United team is an elite group comprised of select players from Marquette and all over the Upper Peninsula.
They are run under the auspices of the Marquette Soccer Academy. Coach Chris Toolen said the team was developed by MSA director Norman Power as a vehicle to give U.P. soccer players an opportunity to be competitive at higher-level tournaments such as the Schwan's Cup.
"The boys' achievement at the USA Cup was remarkable," Toolen said. "We played against strong select teams from numerous states and put our stamp on every single game.
"Taking a team from the U.P. to the largest youth sporting event on the continent and going all the way to the final of the top flight is a feat never before achieved in the history of UP soccer."
Toolen noted that tryouts will be held in the spring for the UPFA United team, with plans to be the first- ever UP squad to enter the MSYSA State Cup in March and April.
Meanwhile, the UPFA boys U-12 squad advanced as far as the quarterfinals at the tournament after finishing second in its group.
The team tied its first game, 1-1, vs. EPSC Arsenal (Minn.). It then blanked Waunakee (Wis.) White Arsenal, 4-0 before bowing 1-0 to FCNW Harder (Man., Canada),
In the quarterfinals, the local squad dropped a 3-2 decision to WSEU Laluk (Man., Canada).
The MSA girls U-11 team failed to advance out of its group after going 1-2. The local squad dropped games to the St. Croix (Minn.) Strikers and eventual tourney finalist KASA Kickers (Wis.), but defeating FC United Thunder Blue (Iowa).
"The USA Cup Weekend was a phenomenal experience for all our kids," Toolen said. "The buzz and excitement around the place is great to be part of. With teams and referees from all over the world the kids felt like they were pros! We plan to bring more of our UPFA United teams next year."