December 21, 2013

SOCCER: Elias part of national championship team

Junior who starred at Waterville plays on U16 title team

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Pilar Elias was already playing for a premier offseason soccer team, the Black Bears, who are under the umbrella of Seacoast United. But the Super Y team, also part of Seacoast United, wanted Elias as well.

click image to enlarge

Pilar Elias

Staff photo by David Leaming

“We don’t recruit within our club, but we were eager to bring her on board,” Super Y coach James Blackwell said. “She’s a fantastic player, and one of the hardest-working players I’ve ever coached.

“To bring her on board, that was a real good pickup for us. I think she’s got a real good future ahead of her.”

Elias joined the Super Y team (the Seacoast United Mariners) this summer, and earlier this month, they captured the U16 national championship in Bradenton, Fla.

Elias, who scored 45 goals and added 16 assists to help Waterville reach the Class B state title game this fall, was the only player from the central Maine area on the Mariners. The rest of the team members are from the southern part of the state.

Blackwell said the Mariners were motivated by an incident at an airport. Sisters Maggie and Cassie Symonds were at the airport when some players from another team in the same tournament spotted them.

“They looked at us and said, ‘Oh, a team from Maine. We’ve got this. It’s going to be an easy game,’ ” Blackwell said. “They said it so our players could hear it. That got back to our girls. We beat that team, 4-1.”

“Whenever a Maine team goes to a tournament, that’s the first thing you hear: ‘Oh, it’s a Maine team. They have nothing,’” Elias said. “We usually do better than other states think we do.”

The Mariners went 2-1 in pool play, losing 2-0 to the Florida Fire Juniors. After defeating a team from Massachusetts in the semifinals, Seacoast United posted a 2-0 victory in the rematch against Florida to win the championship.

“I think the first game (against Florida) it was getting to the end of our three games,” Elias said. “We didn’t go in as serious, I think. We knew even if we did lose, we’d still move on, which probably wasn’t the best mindset for us.”

“That was kind of a nice motivating piece,” Blackwell said. “The girls knew they hadn’t played to their potential (in the first meeting). Our girls were quietly confident the night before the (championship) game.”

Elias said she scored a goal in the first tournament game, against Michigan. She added that the players all receive pretty much equal time on the field.

Elias will be a senior next fall, and hopes to play at the Division I or high Division II level in college. Her Seacoast United team is already practicing two or three times per week, and games will start in the spring. Elias doesn’t travel to all the practices because they are in Portland, so sometimes she’ll practice in Topsham with a U17 boys team.

“It’s fun,” she said. “It’s a lot more aggressive and fast. I grew up playing with boys, so to me it’s like every day playing soccer.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243mdifilippo@centralmaine.comTwitter: @Matt_DiFilippo
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