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On paper, the three Juneau Soccer Club teams playing at a tournament in Hawaii this week knew their opening opponents were powerful squads.
Now they know it firsthand.
All three Juneau teams were shut out on Monday as they opened play in the U.S. Youth Soccer Association Far West Regional Championships in Honolulu. The Juneau Jaguars U-14 boys team lost to Southern California United, 8-0; the Juneau Riptide U-13 boys squad fell to the Classic Cougars of New Mexico, 6-0; and the Juneau Xtratuffs U-13 girls team lost to Surf White of Southern California, 4-0.
All three Juneau teams earned their berths in the tourney by winning titles at the State Cup tournament last August in Fairbanks.
The Jaguars are making their second straight trip to the regional tournament; they played in the event last year when it was held in Salt Lake City. The Jaguars held Southern California - one of the nation's top youth soccer teams - to just three goals in the first half, but the United squad knocked in five goals in the second half.
"They were last year's regional champion," Jaguars coach Mark Kelley said Monday night from Hawaii. "(They were) big and strong and fast and good."
Even though Southern Cal scored eight goals, Kelley said the Jaguars' defense - including Nils Domke, Carlo Ebron, Ray Huebschen, Alex Schirmer and goalkeeper Eric Choquette - played well and prevented additional scoring. Jamie Sekona and Jamaal Bailey also went back to help on defense.
No further details on the Juneau Riptide or Juneau Xtratuffs games were available Monday night.
High temperatures have been reaching into the upper 80s over the past few days in Honolulu.
As a whole, Alaska teams went 1-10-2 on the first day of competition. In the girls U-14 division, the Alaska Goldstrikers 89 team from Anchorage beat the Nevada Rebel Juniors 4-0. The Alaska Goldstrikers 86 U-17 boys team and the Alaska Goldstrikers 85 U-18 boys team tied their opponents from New Mexico and Utah, respectively.