The title was the Crew’s third in four years, as they also earned the honor in 2008 and 2010. The team’s run through the regional tournament included five wins, 19 goals for, and only four against.
The Crew now set their sights on the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Phoenix, Ariz., on July 26-31, where they will be riding a 19-game winning streak. If they can extend the streak to 23, the team will be national champs.
The U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series is the country’s most prestigious national youth soccer tournament, providing approximately 185,000 players on over 10,000 teams from the U.S. Youth Soccer State Associations the opportunity to showcase their skills against the best competition in the nation.
“We came in (to the regionals) thinking we were going to win and maybe since we haven’t won the national championship before, maybe this keeps them on their toes to become national champions,” said Crew coach Remco Bergsma.
The Crew’s road to regionals included winning a State Cup championship in Lansing on June 4 — a 3-0 victory over the Michigan Wolves. In that contest, Vanderlaan scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal, as he attacked from his defensive back position and knocked in an unassisted goal from 20 yards out.
The Crew, which features players primarily from West Michigan, were 7-0 in the state tournament, outscoring their opponents 23-1.