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Girls Academy League National Champions

It was a game several years in the making.

On Sunday, July 9th at the Lou Fusz Athletic Complex in St. Louis, Missouri, Coach Lindsey Bryant’s LFA 2007 Girls Academy team suited up for one of the biggest games of their soccer career: the Girls Academy League U-16 National Championship.

After consecutive years of advancing to the GA Semifinals yet falling short, this year the team was determined to change that end result.

“This team didn’t just have this dream this year, they have been preparing for this the last couple. They have always had trust in each other and focused on the things they can control-heart, effort and attitude,” Coach Bryant adds about her team’s goals.”

Journey to the Finals

The LFA 2007 GA team began their GA Finals journey with a matchup versus Midwest team, Central Illinois United. Coach Bryant’s team played with complete determination and came out with a dominant 4-0 win, advancing them to the GA National Semi-Finals.

On a warm Friday afternoon, Coach Bryant’s team was set to play a strong SC Wave team. This game would settle who would advance to the GA National Championship on Sunday. After a riveting back and forth style game, LFA would not settle for a loss. With not much time left to go in overtime and the score tied 2-2, LFA player, Grace White (#15), nets the game winner off of a set piece free kick from Addison Baldus (#5), advancing LFA to Sunday’s all-or-nothing game.

Championship Sunday

Going into Sunday’s National Championship game, the team had one thing in mind: to win.

“There are lots of teams that make a goal to win a National Championship at the beginning of the year.  Most of the time, those players like to talk the talk but aren’t willing to play together and for each other with the grit, heart and determination it takes to make it happen.  This LFA team loves each other and was willing to sacrifice a lot for each other to make it happen…. that is what made them National Champions,” Coach Bryant expressed.

However, to win a National Championship, a team must play like National Champions. And that’s exactly what LFA did.

With extreme competitive play versus a talented Cincinnati United Premier team, the LFA players knew it would take grit to win. With CUP up 1-0 with not much left in the second half, LFA player, Landry Hopkins (#6), changed the energy of the game by scoring the tying goal on a shot at the top of the box.

Overtime came and went quickly, but no goal came about from either side. With the game still tied at 1-1, both teams were set to advance into penalty kicks where the penalty kick shooters ultimately shined. After all five shooters on both teams made their penalty shots, the shootout came down to you miss, you potentially lose.

After CUP’s sixth penalty shooter hit the cross bar, a moment of silence struck the LFA Complex before LFA player, Addison Baldus, buried the final penalty kick. And LFA officially won the National Championship.

Winning A Title

On that Sunday, July 9th, the LFA 2007 Girls Academy made history. For themselves, for their families, for the city of St. Louis, and for Lou Fusz Athletic.

LFA Managing Director, Dan Gargan, explained, “This group has been something special for a long time. They’re winners. They’re grinders. They’re competitors. They care for each other, and they challenge each other. So much talent within the team, but what really takes them to another level is they play for each other. This championship is something that has been building for a while, and the adversity they’ve faced revealed so much character from this crew.”

As the 2023-2024 soccer season is now on the horizon, the LFA 2007 Girls Academy team will take this momentum from being crowned GA National Champions into every game from here on out, and for the rest of their soccer careers.

Congratulations to each and every player on the LFA 2007 Girls Academy team and the coaching staff on this historical achievement!

Lana Adams, Addison Baldus, Aly Bryant, Riley Henderson, Alysse Lamb, Addison Martin, Emily Sanabria, Grace White, Charlie Wistrom, Ella Anselm, AJ Baldwin, Ava Gibeaut, Landry Hopkins, Grace Luedde, Anna Rosenberg, Alyssa Schulte, Gabbie Williams, Coach Lindsey Bryant, Coach Roger Uphoff, Coach Brad Henderson