2012 State Games of North Carolina

United meets Mayor, has official proclamation at Town Hall
In yet another neat and fun thing to happen to the members of United, the team was honored at the July 17, 2012 Holly Springs Town Council meeting for its success in two of the last three State Games of North Carolina and for representing the town and community exceptionally well.  The meeting was broadcast on Holly Springs channel 11 and live on United TV.

The official Proclamation from the Town Council. Click on the image for a larger version.

“Not bad,” said Mayor Dick Sears, when referencing United’s 2010 Gold Medal victory over the SISA Heat.

“This one’s even heaver.  (United) outscored their opponents 37-2” Sears said about the team’s 2012 medal, which prompted several impressed reactions from the assembled crowd.

“I’m impressed.  That’s heavy duty 37-2,” Sears said.

The team was called to stand in front of the council in the council chambers as Sears read the proclamation that highlighted the teams gold medals, team sportsmanship, the work and dedication of United players, of which Sears called “outstanding student athletes.”

“The coaches and players of the Holly Springs United team represented the Town of Holly Springs with the character and virtue on which Olympic-style festivals are founded,” Sears said, citing the proclamation.

Afterwords Sam Sanger presented the Mayor with a framed team picture on behalf of the United players.  The Mayor said that it would be displayed prominently.  The Mayor then shook hands with each United player.

Colin Attarian was speechless.  “A Town Council proclamation,” Attarian said after the event, smiling and shaking his head in disbelief.  Colin, as well as Nicholas McCullers and Logan Harris, were on the original “Spirit” United team from 2003. Zach Gault joined the following year, with Nico Gutierrez and

The Town Council Meeting agenda. Click on the image for a larger view.

Ethan Sheflin following that, and the core of United’s team was in place.  In addition, Abdul Elmorsi, Derrick Johnson, Brock Waters, Stephen Pratt and Raphael Kim all competed in both State Games Gold Medal games.  Sears made reference to those players who were on the team since 2003.

“I expected it,” said Sam Sanger when the players were asked if they thought that they would be at Town Hall accepting an official proclamation when they began practicing for the State Games.  “I felt confident that we were going to win.”

While several United players are trying out for their respective high schools, Nico Gutierrez and Derrick Johnson were focusing on drumming up support for another indoor season.  If that takes place, it will be later this fall.  For now, as the players were shaking hands with the mayor in front of proud parents, family members and a very proud coach, United is soccer’s toast of the town.

United players pose at Town Hall with the official Town proclamation congratulating the team on its gold medals.

I Declare: Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears meets with United players Nicholas McCullers, Brock Waters, Colin Attarian, Nico Gutierrez, Sam Sanger and Derrick Johnson. United was honored at the July 17th Town Council meeting with a proclamation commending, recognizing and expressing the Town’s congratulations to the team. The event was broadcast live on Holly Springs cable channel 11 and on United TV. Complete video, and a picture of the proclamation, will be available on the Website on Wednesday.
Watch United’s visit to Town Hall and the team proclamation by clicking on the link above. The feed will not be live until 7PM. The archive should be on United TV by 9PM Tuesday night.
United players, friends and family pack Dorry’s Downtown in Cary to celebrate their gold medal and their ascension to the top 16 of the state in the latest Soccer in College North Carolina Rankings. The top 20 as of July 3, 2012: 1. CASL Elite, 2. Winston-Salem Twins White, 3. GUSA Navy, 4. Charlotte United Gold, 5. Charlotte SA Predator, 6. SASL Firestorm Red, 7. HFC Red, 8. TUSA Gold, 9. CFSC Breakers White, 10. Charlotte SA Copa, 11. FCCA Premier, 12. CASL United Black, 13. EWSA Hammers, 14. CASL Premier, 15. North Meck Red, 16. Holly Springs United, 17. Coastal Crew. 18. FVAA Flash Red, 19. TFC Navy. 20. CASL Del Sol.
United has not faced any of the teams ranked higher than they are in this week’s poll.  The team was ranked as high as number 7 in 2008, but that was prior to when the rankings were revised.  The current United team is one of the strongest in team history.
Colin, Ethan, Nicholas and Nico visiting with Stephen and his leg.

BITTERSWEET VICTORY – UNITED TAKES GOLD BUT LOSES STEPHEN

Chilling pic: Travis Knick looks on as Stephen Pratt shoots just before colliding with the EDSC keeper.

United took its second gold in three years when it defeated the EDSC Pythons 7-1 in the Gold Medal game of the 2012 State Games of North Carolina.  The victory was bittersweet as the game ended on a collision between Stephen Pratt and the EDSC goaltender that ended up severely hurting Stephen.  Colin Attarian had just passed the ball to Stephen, who turned to shoot, just inside the goal box, when the injury occurred.  The final 10 minutes of the match was abandoned.  In a great show of sportsmanship and concern players, parents and coaches from three teams, United, the Pythons and Satellites helped with the medical efforts (thank you!) and Stephen’s awaiting his medal.

Getting to that point, United and the Pythons squared off for the second time in 24 hours.  Both games were very competitive early on and, like Saturday, was scoreless midway through the first half.  Derrick Johnson got the scoring going and scored a natural hat trick when he took passes from Wrenn Pallas, Travis Knick and Abdul Elmorsi and paced United to a 3-0 lead.  Later, Knick took a pass from Pratt and put United up 4-0 going into halftime.

Wrenn Pallas and Nico Gutierrez meet the entire Python team at the coin toss.

The second half produced more scoring from both teams as the Pythons were the only team to score on United throughout the weekend.  United answered the Python goal with a goal from Nicholas McCullers off of a Nico Gutierrez pass.  Logan Harris scored when he took a Colin Attarian pass and converted it.  Harris scored again when Abdul Elmorsi centered the ball.

Twice as Nice: United players pose after receiving their gold medal.

United’s defense was the story of the weekend.  Led by Brock Waters, Ethan Sheflin, Wrenn Pallas, Logan Harris, Sam Sanger and Pratt, the team only surrendered two goals and six shots in what was a dominating performance and an amazing improvement over the last year.   United players will get together to celebrate the gold soon at Dorry’s Downtown in Cary.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY – United powers through DC United for a shot at GOLD
United advanced for a shot at its second gold medal in three years by powering through the DC United Nighthawks 11-0 at the State Games of North Carolina.
In several firsts, United has scored more goals in three games than any other tournament in team history and has only given up one goal all weekend.  Every player on the team has scored at least one goal.
Against DC,  United scored just minutes into the game when Colin Attarian centered for Jack Donovan, w

The Gazelle is Back: DC United had no answer for Colin Attarian, who with a goal and three assists was back in his old form, or any of the United players as everyone has scored a goal. United will play in the Gold Medal game at 2PM.

ho crossed to Ethan Sheflin for a quick one, two, three pass play that put United on the board.  The scoring continued when Travis Knick sent a cross to Nico Gutierrez for a goal.  Knick then scored on a pass from Abdul Elmorsi, Elmorsi’s first of four assists.
Sam Sanger scored on an unassisted run from defense for his first goal of the tournament.  Nicholas McCullers scored of an Attarian pass.  Logan Harris scored his first goal of the tournament when Elmorsi crossed the ball to the far post and Harris followed it in.  Sheflin scored his second of the game off of a pass from Nico Gutierrez and United was up 7-0 at half.
The second half saw Brock Waters score his first goal of the tournament when he played an Abdul pass off of his face into the net.  Derrick Johnson scored on another Elmorsi cross and then Attarian centered the ball for Stephen Pratt and Pratt’s first goal of the tournament.  United closed the scoring when Colin Attarian ran down a Logan Harris pass and deflected it off of a Nighthawk defender into the net.
United will play in the Gold Medal game at 2 Sunday afternoon.

Birthday Boys: Ethan, Brock, Colin and Wrenn celebrated their birthdays with the team at Cities on Saturday night. United faces DC United at 8AM Saturday.

Pushing toward a Gold:  United downs PMYSA in second dominating performance
Bermuda Run – United put a second dominating performance together in as many games as it downed the PYMSA United from Pilot Mountain, 8-0 at the 2012 State Games of North Carolina.

In a trend that carried over from indoor, United’s defense has been very aggressive and offense-minded. Here, right defender Sam Sanger pushed all of the way up to outside of the attacking 18 while Jack, Ethan and Nico move into position. United’s outscored its opponents 19-1 in two games so far in the tournament.

Jack Donovan opened the scoring when he took a pass from Ethan Sheflin and scored off of a shot from inside the box.  The two reversed roles for the next goal when Donovan fed Sheflin and a 2-0 lead.  Donovan dumped off two more assists, to Derrick Johnson and Travis Knick, and United was up 4-0 at half.

The second half produced more goal scoring from the Reds.  Nico Gutierrez scored off of a pass from Wrenn Pallas. Colin Attarian fed Sam Sanger, who crossed to Abdul Elmorsi for his first of two goals.  The second off of a Brock Waters pass.  Johnson finished the scoring when he took a Logan Harris cross and buried it in the back of the net.

PMYSA had a great chance to score when their attacker got by the United defense and beat the goalie with a shot on net. Travis Knick sprinted and cleared the ball right before it crossed the goal line to keep the clean sheet for Brock Waters, Stephen Pratt and Ethan Sheflin.

United is 2-0 headed into a match with DC United on Sunday morning and is in a strong position to make a run at its second gold metal in three years.

Fantastic Open!  United pulls away from Pythons to open State Games run

Nico Gutierrez moves in on a Python player.

Bermuda Run – United opened its quest for a gold medal in its fourth State Games with a strong showing against the East Duplin Pythons from the Eastern Carolina Soccer Association.  The Pythons were in the same situation that United was in last year at the State Games, faced with playing an older team, but hung tight with United over the first 20 minutes before the scoring began.
United’s first goal was because of beautiful passing.  Colin Attarian passed the ball to Ethan Sheflin on the left corner of the penalty box.  Sheflin centered to Travis Knick who played the ball back to a trailing Wrenn Pallas.  Pallas put the ball in the night right next to the lower right post.  From there, Nicholas McCullers sent the ball to Knick, who put United up, 2-0.  Nico Gutierrez scored next when he followed a ball up that the Python keeper juggled and dropped.  Pallas crossed to Derrick Johnson for the forth goal and Abdul Elmorsi played a ball to Gutierrez to end the scoring for the half.

In the second half Brock Waters fed the ball to Logan Harris.  Harris had a great cross that Jack Donovan sent into the net.  Harris crossed it again minutes later and Johnson headed the ball in the net.  Pallas scored when Sam Sanger fed it down the left side and then Donovan scored again when Attarian passed it to the same place.

United kept the pressure up, even playing down two players, when Abdul scored and then Derrick Johnson scored his final goal of the game on another Attarian assist.

United’s 11-1 victory is the largest margin of victory in any tournament to date.  The team faces a bigger Pilot Mountain team at noon.

Let the games begin! BB&T Ballpark on opening night!
Nicholas McCullers moves into position in United’s 2003 victory over the Charge. It was the team’s second season, and its first unbeaten one.

Tournament History:  United’s had an up and down tournament history, dominating league playoffs but struggling when stepping up to the bigger tournaments.  Here’s a pictorial history.

2003:
United (as Spirit) beats the Charge to go 7-0 and notches its first unbeaten season.  Tied at three, Colin Attarian scored the game-winning goal when he took a pass from Logan Harris to put United up, 4-3.

2004:
Holly Springs Playoffs (2-0-1).  United stepped up to U8 and faced the unbeaten and older Renegades

Logan Harris waits for Zach Gault to set up the play in the 2005 Holly Springs playoffs. United defeated the Galaxy in this game en route to its first championship match against the Bandits.

team in its first-ever playoff game.  United hung tough as Colin, Logan and Zach all scored, but had to settle for a tie.  Based on points, the Renegades moved on, but the two teams met several more times over the course of the next three seasons.

2005:
–  Holly Springs Playoffs (4-0).  United defeats the Bandits 2-1 in the championship to win its second league championship.  The two teams would meet again in the fall playoff championship game where…
–  Holly Springs Playoffs (3-1). …the Bandits got their revenge, beating United 2-0 on a Sunday afternoon.

Colin Attarian charges up field in the first round of the 2005 fall recreational playoffs.

–  State Games of North Carolina (0-3).  United went to its first major tournament when it went up the road to Cary and competed at the State Games.  Down several of its normal cast, United ran into two academy teams before falling to the TYSC All-Stars 5-3.

2006:
TYSC/FVAA Playoffs (2-1).  United moved to the Triangle Y Soccer Club and, again playing up, represented TYSC at the FVAA recreational playoffs.  United won two before falling to the FVAA United, 2-1.

2007:
–  TYSC/FVAA Playoffs (4-0).  United was at the top of the age division and took control of the playoffs, entering them as one of two unbeaten teams (the other being the rival Rampage).  By the end of the week, United defeated the TYSC Juventus on a wet night at Grace Church behind

Ethan Sheflin moves in to tackle the ball away from an FVAA player as United played in its first FVAA tournament in 2006.

goals from Travis Knick, Zach, two from Nico and Colin with the final tally.

–  Wrangler/McDonald’s Classic (0-3).  By far the nicest complex that United had played at to date, United traveled to Greensboro and Bryan park, playing up a year, and ran into a strong Greensboro Ranger team. Down 3-0 before halftime, United lost 5-0.  The

Zach Gault heads the ball up field in the 2007 TYSC/FVAA Championship as Nico Gutierrez anchors the defense.

highlight of the tournament came when United faced off against State Champion Indian Trail Bulldogs and hung with Indian Trail through the first half.  Indian Trail scored first, but United answered when Nico took a pass to score.  Tied at one with under a minute left in the half, Indian Trail scored to go up 2-1 and pulled away in the second half.

–  Mary Myers Memorial (1-2).  United went into its first of what would become many indoor games, playing for a good cause at the Mary Myers Memorial.  United won one before falling to a national ranked girls team but the seed was planted for indoor.

2008:
–  Great Carolina Shootout (1-2).  United went south of the border for the team’s first out-of-state match.  Playing against

Nico Gutierrez battles a Coast FC player in United’s first out-of-state match. United won the game, 3-2.

challenge-level teams, United opened against host Coast FA and won the game, 3-2.

–  Mary Myers Memorial (2-1).  Back inside, United won two of three games, including a split with Gremio.

–   SASL Burn Tournament (3-1).  United went to Sanford for the Burn tournament and downed the Elite and beat the Tsunamis in what would become a mini indoor rivalry later.  The Tsunamis instantly earned the United player’s respect by using the trick corner kick that United still uses today.  In the championship game, United got behind the Elite and pulled Sam for an extra attacker, almost tying it, and making the game an instant classic.

–  United vs. Rampage at RFK Stadium (0-0).  While it wasn’t an official tournament, it sure had the tournament atmosphere!  United vs. the rival Rampage at RFK Stadium at halftime of a DC United vs. Chivas USA match.  In front of 28,000 people, United and the Rampage tied.

Ethan in action against the Rampage at RFK.

2009:
–  Wrangler/McDonald’s Classic (1-3).  United’s last trip to Wrangler.  Finally, some success.  In the consolation match, United faced Indian Trail and won, 5-0.

–  TYSC/FVAA Playoffs (3-0-1).  United lost the first three games of the season but regrouped.  We were down players throughout the remainder of the season but somehow found a way to win out.  It was a grinding, overall team effort for the season and that carried into the tournament where, at Flemming Loop, United tied the FVAA Novas, 3-3 but then won the remaining three games.  Due to points, it was the Novas that went on to face the Rampage in the final, where the Rampage won.
Travis Knick contests for a ball at the Can Am Cup in 2009.  United went 0-2-1, tying the eventual champion Savanah Celtic in the team's final game.

–  TYSC Special Fall Tournament (2-1).  This was a tournament for a good cause.  The goal was to raise money for Leukemia awareness as one of the Rampage players contracted the disease.  All of the TYSC rec and challenge teams competed in the single-elimination tournament, as did a select few of the FVAA rec teams.  United defeated Gremio and a challenge team before playing its rival, the Rampage, who were playing as challenge that season.  In this game United was without Nico and Colin and fell to the Rampage, 3-1.  United would get its revenge one week later when it beat the Rampage 2-1 to end the regular season.

2010:
–  Virginia Legacy Cup (0-3).  United went to Williamsburg and had a tough time against the challenge teams, although did do well against the Cary Hawks.  The Hawks beat United 7-0 a year earlier back in Holly Springs, but United fell in Williamsburg, 4-2.

Colin Attarian prepares to send the ball to Wrenn Pallas as a Cleveland United player waits.

–  State Games of NC (4-0).  United’s first major championship came in what was going to be the last games as a team.  United downed Mint Hill and Mebane before moving on to the semifinal matchup and a victory against CSA.  In the gold medal match, the Heat and United traded goals, with the teams tied at one at half.  In the second half, the Heat scored first, but United scored the last two, including Derrick’s gold winning goal with just two minutes left.

2011:

Stephen Pratt shaved his head and played the ball in the 2011 State Games as Raphael and Ethan look on.

State Games of NC (0-3-1).  United played up a year and lost several players in the first match.  Depleted, United had a marathon battle against SS United, tying 0-0 and then playing again in the bronze medal game just 20 minutes after they concluded the first match.  That game went all of the way through the second overtime period before SS United broke the tie and won, 1-0.

2012: ??

Two years ago…It’s hard to believe that United’s march to the State Games Gold Medal was two years ago!  Revisit the gold medal run, from the stingy defense, to Abdul’s penalty save, to the beach soccer and constantly having to get the ball out of Lake Norman, all of the way through to Derrick’s goal, all here!

Like Opponents:  Looking to see how United may do this weekend at the State Games?  Here’s some information on our opponents.   The only common opponent between DC United and us is the CASL Attack.  Both teams lost to the Attack with United falling 4-1 in the winter, ’09 and DC losing in ’08.  The EDSC Pythons are currently ranked #43 in the latest Soccer in College North Carolina poll (United is #24) and has gone 4-1-1 against the SS United over the last year.  We’re 0-1-1 against SS United, having played two back-to-back games, one through overtime, at last year’s State Games.

How has United done since their 1-0 loss to SS United last year?  We’ve gone 7-1, outscoring our opponents 67-19 (+43 goal differential) in our last season.  Other fun facts about what’s happened in the last year:

– We’ve increased our overall record to 134 wins, 63 losses and 18 ties.
–  We were part of the first live Web broadcast of a youth soccer game in NC.
–  Nico scored 12 goals in just seven games.
–  The longest scoring streak in team history continued when Colin scored against the Satellites.  It was the 25th consecutive season (dating back to 2003) that Colin’s scored a goal.  Two weeks before,  Zach scored in his 21st consecutive season, dating back to 2004.

What will we be able to add after this weekend?

Party time: United members “play” soccer on the Playstation at the team party Friday night.

United to face powerful Pythons, DC United at State Games
United will entertain a rematch of two evenly-matched teams that played 150 minutes of scoreless soccer at the 2011 State Games when it faces the Sumershill United.  Holly Springs will also face off against DC United as well as the EDSC Pythons who have ruled eastern North Carolina for the last two seasons, winning their league both times and taking the ECSA championship this spring.

Complete Schedule:

Saturday:
8AM  United vs. EDSC Pythons
12PM United vs. SS United

Sunday:
8AM  United vs. DC United
12PM  Bronze Medal Game
2PM  Gold Medal Game

Bringing ’em back!  United players return for a run at the Gold.

Coming Home: United adds some long-time teammates to the team’s indoor roster for the State Games. Logan Harris, Derrick Johnson, Raphael Kim, Travis Knick and Wrenn Pallas are all back with the team. Everybody on United has played at least one season with the team and 12 of the 16 have more than three years experience of playing together on the team.
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