While University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley was walking around the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex last week watching future gridiron stars, a large contingent of NCAA coaches were at the same complex scouting soccer players. The Disney facility played host to several events featuring some of the nation’s finest high school athletes. Among those being scouted were the players of FC Alliance’s 94 Boys Black team. And if there was ever a time to perform well, this event was it. Fortunately, Coach Jon Schneider’s boys did not disappoint, going unbeaten in pool play before falling 1-0 in a thrilling championship game.
The Disney College Showcase is a tough ticket for competitive soccer teams. Attractive not only because of the plethora of college coaches in attendance, but also the beautiful fields and warm weather during a December event. More teams are turned away than accepted into the tournament. This made the 94 Boys’ run to the finals of the top bracket even more impressive. Furthermore, the team was playing without key midfielder Dalton Guzman, who was playing for the Region 3 Olympic Development team.
“Our team played awesome,” said Coach Schneider. “We played very well against four quality opponents.”
The tournament opened with the 94 Black drawing with Penn Fusion 2-2. From there, the boys turned up their play to another level, knocking off the Missouri state champions, Lou Fusz, by a 3-1 score. One day later, with national power Dallas Texans Red blocking the road to the finals, the 94 Black played one of their finest games of the year. Schneider’s troops hammered the Texas team 3-0, securing a spot in the championship game.
“We are truly close to being one of the best teams in the country,” Schneider added. “If we keep putting it together, it’s going to be good.”
Although the finals didn’t go their way, a hard fought 1-0 loss to Tulsa FC, the tournament ended a huge success. The boys played four games in front of numerous very interested college coaches. Coming on the heels of a Germantown Invitational Tournament championship, the Tennessee state and Region 3 Central Premier League champions have been on a tear of late. The boys will now turn their sights on the regional tournament in June. No Tennessee team has ever won a regional championship.
Could this be the one?