Borden's Grant Hollkamp continued on his upward curve in youth soccer circles with his selection to represent the Olympic Development Program's Midwest Region II '97 team in Costa Rica next February.
The diminutive 14-year-old holding midfielder impressed in an inter-regional tournament held in Chula Vista, Calif. over Thanksgiving week, where his team ended up with a 2-1 record.
Despite a 2-0 loss to Region IV, the team bounced back to record two victories against the 1998 National Team Blue (2-0) and Region III (2-0).
Hollkamp said the venue, the Olympic Training Center, was “really impressive,” while the weather was perfect, around 75 degrees each day. He wasn't, however, there for a vacation.
“I worked hard while in California to get selected for the Costa Rica trip, and I feel very lucky to have made the team because there are a lot of very good players in the Midwest,” he said. “My goal is still to make the national team for my age group, but I know it will take a lot of time and hard work to make that happen.”
The Costa Rica tournament takes place from Feb. 4-11 and comprises the United States' four regional teams, as well four teams from the host nation. They will also attend a professional game and get to experience international play.
This is the second consecutive year that Hollkamp, currently playing his club soccer with Mockingbird, has been named on the ODP Region II team.
The Louisville Collegiate eighth grader made the 18-player squad following his performance at the ODP camp in DeKalb, Ill. His age group comprised 400 players from 14 states.
TIRED CARDS FALL TO BRUINS
It was highly doubtful that Saturday night's NCAA quarterfinal clash between Louisville and UCLA would match the nine-goal thriller witnessed at a snowy Cardinal Park last year when the pair faced each other at the same stage.
And so it proved as the game, played in front of an official attendance of 4,832, was decided by a single Bruins' goal in the second period of overtime against a visibly tired Cardinals outfit.
Reed Williams' strike past Louisville keeper Andre Boudreaux in the 102nd marked the sixth shot from UCLA in just over 11 minutes of overtime, compared to the Cards' one. The goal allowed them to avenge both last year's NCAA defeat and a 2-0 loss earlier this season.
Louisville coach Ken Lolla said in the postmatch press conference that while the team played well in the first half, and faded a little bit in the second 45, some of the players struggled energy-wise in overtime, which depleted the team a little bit.
“I think part of it was they were a little bit fresher; especially with their attacking guys, they were rotating them quite a bit,” he said.
The Cards (14-7-2) will lose seven seniors, including the aforementioned Boudreaux, Colin Rolfe, Nick DeLeon, Kenney Walker, Austin Berry, Mark Knight and Jimmy Crick.
UCLA (18-4-1), meanwhile, moves on to play No.1 North Carolina at the College Cup in Hoover, Ala. on Friday (8.30 p.m.). The second semifinal sees unranked Charlotte face No. 2 Creighton (6 p.m.). The final will take place on Sunday (4 p.m.).
THIRD YEAR A CHARM FOR THE LIGHTNING?
Louisville Lightning has just kicked off its third year in the Professional Arena Soccer League, and so far it's looking promising.
While losing 13-9 to Illinois Piasa last Friday, Louisville bounced back Saturday to topple Kansas Magic 8-6, and in the process inflicted the first loss of the season on its opponent.
This year's start has been encouraging for Lightning, which goes into Friday's U.S. Open Cup tournament encounter against Indy Elite of Indianapolis at Mockingbird Valley Sports Complex with a 3-2 record.
Louisville reached the final of the same national knockout competition in its first season as a club in 2009-2010, but struggled somewhat to make the same impression in its sophomore year.
The team comprises a mix of local, national and international talent. Returning players include John Michael Hayden, David Horne, Simon Bird, Darren Yeagle and goalie Frank Peabody.
They are joined by newcomers such as midfielder Corey Maret, who played in Germany, former University of Louisville defender Charlie Campbell, and Ireland's Ross Hopkins.
The expansion team is owned and chaired by Jeffersonville architect Wayne Estopinal, and Ted Nichols, who are also are the owners of Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club.
They chose the nickname of Lightning to acknowledge the city's original professional franchise, the Louisville Thunder, which played from 1984-1987 and won the 1986-87 American Indoor Soccer Association championship.
Friday's game against Indy Elite kicks off at 7:30 p.m. For more information, check out the club's website at: www.louisvillelightning.com.
GOODBYE TO 'THE DOCTOR'
The 1982 Brazil team is considered by many as one of the greatest teams never to have won the World Cup, and captain of the team was the great Sócrates.
The soccer world was saddened to hear of his passing on Sunday after suffering an intestinal infection at age 57.
To give him his full name, Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira was a formidable attacking midfielder who was prominent in two World Cups and earned 60 caps for his country.
The 6 foot, 3 inch tall, bearded, self-confessed “anti-athlete” smoked incessantly and drank large quantities of beer, but if such indulgences ultimately caught up with him in life, they never seemed to affect his performances on the field.
A qualified doctor who took his exams while playing, he came to prominence playing for Corinthians in the early 1980s. He also played in Italy for Fiorentina, as well as for Botafogo, Flamengo and Santos. He famously came out of retirement at the age of 50 to make a one-off substitute appearance for Garforth Town in England.
Sócrates will also be remembered as a social activist and campaigner for democracy, both within the game and on the wider political stage.
Aidan Kelly can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org