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Dec, 2022

Fredericksburg FC Players Capture National Title

Recently, a team made up of six Fredericksburg FC players participated in the 3v3 Live National Championships held in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on Nov. 26-27, bringing home the 2008 Boys division title.

The culturally diverse team was made up of boys from two different age groups within FFC. The players of course are all based in the United States, but also have family roots in Africa, South America, Vietnam and Europe.

“Our team touched all four corners of the globe and I am proud to have been a part of that,” said coach Shawn LaFleur. “It’s America at its finest.”

To qualify for the national tournament, teams had to play in tournaments throughout the season to build up points. The FFC Quick Strike squad played in those tournaments as a 2008 Boys squad, as opposed to the 2008 Boys Premier division that was also offered.

Throughout the season Quick Strike went to six different tournaments in four different states. They won medals in each, including a gold in the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Virginia and a silver in the Northeast Regional in New Jersey.

With the results from those tournaments, Quick Strike came into the national event ranked No. 1 in Virginia and No. 5 nationally in the 2008 Boys division.


On Saturday, the squad played three games in Pool Play to determine their seeding for Sunday’s double-elimination tournament action. Pool Play consisted of a mix of both 2008 Premier and 2008 teams.

For the sake of helping things be less confusing, we’ll refer to the 2008 Boys division as the “Open” division in this write-up.

They began with wins over Premier team New Mexico United FC - Yellow and “Open” team Smash City (N.C.). In their final Pool game, they dropped a tough contest to Premier side Mayhem United F.C. ‘08 (Ill.), the eventual runner-up in the Premier Bracket.

Those results earned Quick Strike a spot in the Premier bracket to start Sunday’s double-elimination action. An opening loss dropped teams down to the “Open” bracket.

As the rankings fell, the FFC group ended up with a rematch against New Mexico to start Sunday’s play. This time around, the team from the Southwest U.S. came out on top dropping a flat Quick Strike to the “Open” bracket.

There, they took on fellow “Open” division team Bay CIty FC #2, ranked No.1 in Texas, in a very physical game where Quick Strike jumped out to a 3-0 halftime advantage. Each team scored after the break as Quick Strike earned the win to reach the division’s championship game.

In the championship match, Quick Strike took on TN North Stars, ranked #1 in Tennessee, and took an early 1-0 lead before North Star tied things up. The FFC boys jumped back on top 2-1 before the half, then secured the title with a third score in the second half.


RESULTS

Saturday, Nov. 26

W, 4-2: vs. New Mexico United FC - Yellow

W, 5-0: vs. Smash City (N.C.)

L, 4-6: vs. Mayhem United F.C. ‘08 (Ill.)

Sunday, Nov. 27

L, 0-3: vs. New Mexico United FC - Yellow [Premier]

W, 4-1: vs. Baytown City FC #2 (Texas) [“Open”]

W, 3-1: vs. TN North Stars (Tenn.) [“Open” Final]

When all was said and done, Quick Strike came out of the tournament as not only the top team in Virginia and the tournament, but also the nation in the 2008 Boys division.

“These kids gave up their whole summer plus weekends in the fall to practice and play the game,” LaFleur said. “It was an honor and a privilege to coach them both on and off the field. The amount of work and coordination was worth every second to see these kids achieve the ultimate goal.

“[Personally], their hard work and determination inspired me to keep pressing forward.”

Here’s a little about each player from coach LaFleur, and themselves, as well as coach LaFleur himself: 

MASON MUNOZ

Coach: Mason is the oldest of three in his family, but the youngest of the Quick Strike team. He is also the smallest in stature but has one of the biggest hearts. Mason has fantastic ball skills. He plays defense for his travel team and goalie for the state ODP team. I call him the Cheetah as he is quick to react and so fast on the field. Others call him the Flying Squirrel for his amazing abilities all over the field. Mason is incredibly dedicated, positive and all around fun to be around.

Mason on Mason: I was born in Virginia and I have been playing soccer for about three years. I play goalie and left back. Ever since I've been participating in 3v3 I've improved in many ways. 3v3 is a great program overall! It shows you the importance of teamwork, ball skills, technique and game sense. Being excited for nationals was an understatement. We put a gigantic amount of work and effort into this program and to see that it pay off was amazing. Nationals meant a lot to everyone, to play in such an atmosphere was a blessing. I’m lucky to be part of Quick Strike.

ANTONY INTRIAGO

Coach: Antony is our biggest player and top defender. He is the quietest among the group, but always very polite and respectful of everyone around him. Antony lives with his mother here, but he often speaks of his father in Venezuela, saying how he wants to make both of them proud. Antony is an absolute brick wall on the defense, but can quickly turn it around and score using his soccer skills and speed to get it down the field. If there is one player I would single out for MVP, it is Antony. He has a massive presence in front of the goal and his strength fuels the whole team.

Antony of Antony: My family is from Venezuela, we've lived in the United States for about five years now. I mostly play center back, but I can play other places around the field and be good at it. 3v3 to me is something special that can help us get better with our skills and playing small, fast paced really helps me get better with my technique and touches with the ball. Getting the chance to even get to play for the national title meant a lot cause it showed me that it's just the beginning of a long journey through my life and that it tells me that I can do anything I want if I put the work and effort in. It meant a lot to win the title to show my family, who still are in Venezuela, that I'm getting ahead and accomplishing my dreams of playing professionally one day.

RYAN LIPSCOMB

Coach: Ryan is the one of five boys in his family, and one of the oldest on the Quick Strike team. He is a very fun loving kid, giving and a comedic storyteller. Ryan is a multifaceted player. He can play offense or defense depending on where the team needs him. Ryan is able to get the job done with his size, determination and skill.

Ryan on Ryan: My family is originally from Virginia. I play right wing and I've been playing soccer for around two years. Playing 3v3 means a lot to me and it really helps me improve my endurance and my game sense. I've noticed a considerable difference in the time I can play before I get tired. Going to Nationals meant the world to me since I hadn't gone further than a state championship tournament win. Playing for a national title was a whole different… I don't even have the words to describe how much it meant to win a national title.
YAMUNGU JEANCLADUE, a.k.a., JJ

    

Coach: JJ is the oldest of four in his family and is one of our strongest players. He is a God-fearing young man, active in his church, and shows leadership both on and off the field. Yamungu is an unstoppable force on the field, wearing down his opponents with his tenacity and strength.

JJ on JJ: My family is from Tanzania and I play right wing. I've played soccer for 10 years now and 3v3 is something that would help me develop my full skills. Going to play nationals meant a lot to me because I've never played in Florida. I was thankful for the chance of being able to play there.

LARRY ABEL

Coach: Larry is one of three siblings and is very active in his church. On the field, his combination of speed and accuracy, along with his shots, makes him an especially formidable opponent. He has a great soccer IQ and was quick to pick up both the set plays and the rotating offense for Quick Strike. Larry showed great tenacity throughout training and the season. His dedication helped him to be our leading scorer.

Larry on Larry: My family is from Burundi and Tanzania. When they came to America they had me. The position I play is center mid. I’ve played soccer for 10 years and going to Nationals was an opportunity for me to show my all in every way to prove to myself that I'm very talented.

THOMAS LaFLEUR

Coach: Thomas is the older of two boys in his family. He is our team captain, a true leader both on and off the field. Thomas’ overall knowledge of the game combined with his speed and technical skills make him a threat every time he takes the field. He uses his intuition and soccer IQ to read the other teams’ plays, nobody picked off more passes than Thomas.

Thomas on Thomas: My mom's side of the family is from New Jersey and my dad's side is from Virginia. I play striker, left and right wing, and sometimes midfield. I've been playing soccer for as long as I can remember. 3v3 is a goal I worked towards during the school year, keeping my grades high so I can play. It helps me a lot with staying at the top of my game and not slacking off during a time when my travel team is not practicing. Playing for the national title was a big accomplishment. I've been playing 3v3 for almost five years and haven't even gotten close to playing in anything this big. My whole team and I were very very excited to play in Florida among the best 3v3 teams out there, and for the biggest 3v3 title you can get.

COACH LaFLEUR


Coach:
I am inspired to coach by my son who puts in countless hours of training with the burning desire to see how close he can get to the pros. I have been blessed to have surrounded myself with top talent in the area. I received my start under Coach Josh Gebhart and learned from many other coaches along the way to form my own style of coaching.

I focused on teaching them how to use their soccer IQ to outsmart the other team. We worked on being able to recognize what the other team is doing, then how to counter it, forcing the other team out of their comfort zone. We can play physically, with finesse or a good mix of both. We are able to play fast and we can slow the game down when needed. We built the team from the back, meaning our zone/pressure defense wins games. By working on several variations of the same set play, we are able to dictate how the other team responds. If the team was pressed, we’d have set plays to force the other team to give us space. If a team gave us space, we would capitalize on it. My training was all about how to play and win the 3v3 game with their head as well as their feet.

I strive to keep the ball at kids’ feet regardless of their restrictions based on their ability to play. Soccer is what keeps these kids in a good space and as an old friend taught me, coaching does not end when the practice is over. Teaching them how to be humble when winning and losing with grace is all part of the deal. Most importantly, coaching is helping guide these boys in the transition from children into young men. I hope the experience from playing on this team will last them a lifetime.

Now we look to defend our title in 2023.

Field Status

Open Open

FFC Park (07:42 AM | 05/22/22)

Open Open

VYSA Turf Fields (06:45 AM | 10/11/22)