Hard work sparks Flames

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Five local teams have moved on in Ontario Cup play with five others getting a chance to do the same thing this weekend.

There were several big wins in Cup play recently. One of the biggest was the London Forest United Flames under-18 girls' team moving into the Cup semifinals.

The Flames won their round-robin tournament in London, defeating Whitby 2-0, Mount Hamilton 1-0 and Mississauga 1-0, and tying Sarnia Spirit 0-0.

It's not unusual for this Flames team to find itself among the province's and the nation's elite.

The core of this team has been to two national championships, bringing home two silver medals and winning three Ontario Cups.

This under-18 team is made up mainly of Flames who play in the under-17 division of the Ontario Youth Soccer League. The rest play for the under-18 team in the London and District Youth Soccer League.

Coach Anthony Camacho felt the combination would give the Flames the best chance of an Ontario Cup and national title since there is no national tournament for the under-17 age group.

It's a question of timing. With the national tournaments held in the fall, waiting for all his girls to reach the under-18 age category would mean he would risk losing many of his players to scholarships in the United States and schools in Canada.

"Hard work," Camacho said succinctly when asked what the team's strong suit is. "They work all the time. This year is a little different. As the girls get older they have different interests in life but they still work."

Last year the team practised five days a week. This year it's down to four.

It's helped that he's managed to keep 80 per cent of his team intact over the years.

"They are a very coachable team," Camacho said. "They listen well and they want to succeed.

"Together they are a close-knit group. They play well together and they work for each other."

The Flames will play Barrie Spirit at Vaughan Soccer Centre on July 29 for a spot in the Ontario Cup final.

The London Supernova under-16 girls moved into the quarter-finals with their victory in their round-robin win. Supernova were impressive, defeating Whitby 7-0, Peterborough 11-0 and Oakville 4-0. Supernova will play its quarter-final match in London Aug. 12 against Stoney Creek.

It was good news for London in the men's and women's Ontario Cup divisions.

London City Lady Selects defeated Scarborough 2-0 on goals by Jessica Herman and Sarah Regan.

Ashley Strocky earned the clean sheet. City will play the Scarborough Azzurri on Aug. 13 in London.

Two London men's teams are headed to the quarter-finals. London AEK defeated Hamilton Croatia in Hamilton 2-0 and will play Scarborough United in Scarborough on Aug. 13.

London Benfica defeated Mississauga Diavoli 4-3 and is headed for a matchup in Oakville, also on the 13th. If both teams win their games, they'll meet each other in the Ontario Cup semifinal.

This weekend in boys' under-17 tier one play, London City Dynamite will travel to Vaughan for its round-robin tournament, while London Benfica will head to Windsor.

The under-17 girls London City Lightning travel to Mississauga for their round-robin tournament. Sarnia Spirit will play in St. Catharines and Sarnia Spirit SRSL will head to Sarnia.


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