Isabella Brown has played for the Philadelphia Soccer Club for four years. Her teammates have been the same for the past two or three years and last week the Coppa Rage achieved their greatest accomplishment – finishing second in the U16 United States National Championship Series in Bradenton, Florida.
“It was really great,” Brown said. “We had a fun time as a team. I think we’ve grown to become really close and more like a family. It was just a time to put all of our hard work into play. We really showed our talent and our work ethic as a team and we performed.
“It’s a big accomplishment, I would say. I mean, second in the nation is a pretty big title. Obviously we’re going to come back next year and work hard and get back to where we were and hopefully be first.”
They went 3-2 in their five games last week. After losing their first game against La Roca, 1-0, they responded with three straight wins – 2-1 over Cincinnati Cup Gold, 4-1 over Louisiana Fire and 1-0 against Broomfield Soccer Club. The tournament ended with a 2-0 loss to La Roca in the championship.
Brown scored the lone goal in the 1-0 semifinal win over Broomfield. In the sixth minute she found the top right corner and that stood as the game-winner to send her team to the championship.
“I think Maura Day threw in the ball and Gianna Rivera – she had a really good turn on the defender,” Brown recalled. “She passed me the ball and I took a touch and hit it. It went into the upper 90 corner from maybe 20 yards out, right outside the 18. I just jumped into Gianna’s arms and everyone just ran towards each other and we all hugged and celebrated and screamed together.
“It was definitely a great experience and a fun time. Our whole team celebrating was a really special moment for us.”
The team features plenty of familiar faces from the Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media area. Brown is an Oreland resident and a rising junior at Springside Chesnut Hill Academy, along with Brigid McDonald and Elena Franklin, who are from Abington and Upper Dublin, respectively. Abington’s Maura Day, Archbishop Wood’s Ava DeGeorge and Giula Nevtroski and Hatboro-Horsham’s Emma Levin all play for the Coppa Rage under head coach Tom DeGeorge, who holds the same position at Archbishop Wood.
The Coppa Rage qualified for the National Championship Series by winning their National League bracket in March in North Carolina.
The team also won the Pennsylvania state championship and a tournament in Bethesda, Maryland this season. They reached United States Youth Soccer Eastearn Regional semifinals and competed in the top bracket of the Jefferson Cup in Virginia.
The players will head back to their respective high schools in a couple weeks for the fall season. In November, they’ll get back together and start working toward their goal of claiming the top spot in the country.
“We’re just going to enjoy high school, work hard,” Brown said, “and then we’ll be back in November for a few tournaments in the fall. Then National League starts up again in December and we’ll be back on our grind.”