The girls 98 Red team from Eastside FC finished its season at the US Youth Soccer National Championships for the second straight season, bringing home a third place finish after winning the title in 2013.
Eastside FC won its first match, 2-1 over Alliance Academy 99 Black of Michigan, before falling 3-1 to YMS Premier Xplosion of Pennsylvania in a rematch of last year’s championship.
A 1-1 draw with Legends FC of California sent Eastside to the semifinals, before a 1-0 loss in the second overtime ended their hopes for a repeat national title.
Kaylene Pang, a rising sophomore at Issaquah High School and one of four area players on the team, earned Best 11 honors for her performance.
She said after competing with the same group of girls since elementary school, the chance to get back to Nationals was one she relished.
“Everyone is ready to sacrifice for each other, and that has been so important,” she said. It is the main reason for our success and makes it so much more fun.”
The only Issaquah Eagle on the team, Pang is club teammates with a trio of rival Skyline Spartans in Cameron Tingey, Molly Monroe and Alexa Kirton.
She said the chance to add a new chapter to the Issaquah-Skyline rivalry is one of the most anticipated elements of the upcoming prep season.
“The rivalry is huge,” she said. “It is so big for the school and just fun to be a part of.”
Issaquah has missed the state tournament only once in the past decade, and captured three state championships, finishing as the 4A state runner-up in 2013 after a 3-2 title game loss to Central Valley.
That setback was the second consecutive for the Eagles in the championship match.
The Spartans have been shutout of state only three times since the year 2000, and took home back-to-back state crowns in 2011 and 2012.