The U11 KonFusion, a competitive girls soccer team from the East Diablo Youth Soccer League, brought home consecutive tournament titles in recent weeks, demonstrating exactly why it's the EDYSL's highest-ranked Division I team in Nor Cal State Cup action.
The KonFusion traveled to Redwood City Aug. 2 and 3 for the 38th annual Tournament of Champions, where it earned three convincing victories to advance to the finals. Against the Alliance Devils of Union City, team KonFusion earned the 1-0 win behind a strong defensive effort and its signature passing game.
They were a pretty physical, pretty big team. But we played more pass-and-move soccer than they did, said KonFusion head coach Paul McIlvenny. They actually beat us in a previous championship, so we were able to get revenge against them this time.
The following weekend, the KonFusion traveled to Sacramento for the Suntan Classic, where once again it tallied three straight wins to advance to the championship. Against the Tracy Fireballs, the KonFusion earned the 3-0 shutout for the tournament title.
They were a pretty good little team, but they weren't very physical, McIlvenny said of the Fireballs. We like to play from the back. We're a strong passing team. We just had contrasting styles, which allowed us to win.
Over the course of the two tournaments, the KonFusion scored 24 goals and allowed only three to pass through its own net.
Last season in the 10U division, team KonFusion finished first in the Nor Cal Premier spring and fall leagues, which featured eight Division I teams. This spring, the KonFusion placed second in its league, which featured 16 teams.
McIlvenny credits the team's ongoing success to his players' dedication to the sport and willingness to learn. They're really smart girls who are respectful and good listeners, he said. When you have smart kids, you can really take them big steps in a short amount of time.
The KonFusion players also possess strong character and good will off the field. Just before Labor Day, the team learned of a young soccer player in the San Jose area who was killed in an automobile accident on her way home from a tournament. Although none knew Hannah Welker or her family, the KonFusion sprang into action, holding a car wash to benefit the young player's family.
A San Jose club team actually organized a tournament rather quickly to benefit the family, and since we had a free weekend, we decided to enter, McIlvenny said. We agreed that whatever money we made beyond the entry fee we would donate to the Hannah Welker Memorial Fund.
The players raised more than $1,000 and in the process learned something about service and lending a helping hand. It was a good life lesson for the girls, McIlvenny said. Even though we didn't know Hannah or the family, the girls realized that it could have been anyone's family that that happened to.
The KonFusion opened its fall league with a 4-0 victory over the Pleasanton Rage last Saturday. This weekend, the team enters the preliminary round of Nor Cal State Cup play in an effort to make the actual State Cup in February of 2009.
Team KonFusion members are Megan Monier, Kelly Hunt, Emma Spears, Jamie Calma, Megan Vernoy, Amber Krause, Meghan Willmes, Brianne Smith, Maggie O'Shea-Friedman, Kasidee Wiley, Alyssa Schneider, Sami Lord, Taylin Ashley-White, Demi Gonis, Maddi Kimball, Lexi Robbins and Michaela McIntosh. In addition to McIlvenny, the team is coached by Matt Lord and Kelsee Wiley.