Double win sends Comets to U.S. Southern Regionals

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

History was made Sunday afternoon as Green Forest sophomore William Carmona and his Arkansas Comets Under-15 team won the right to represent Arkansas four weeks from now at the U.S. Southern Regional soccer championships.

No Carroll County soccer player has ever played in the Regional contest, in which only one team from 11 southern states will advance to the U.S. Nationals in August. The honor comes as Arkansas hosts the Regionals for the first time ever at a new 20-field soccer complex at North Little Rock's Burns Park.

On June 29, the Comets will face off against Alabama's state champions, then North Carolina's top team on June 29, and Louisiana on June 30. The winners will advance to semi-finals, then finals on July 1.

The Comets won the right to represent Arkansas by taking first place Sunday afternoon in the Arkansas State Snickers Cup in Fayetteville.

On Saturday, the Comets had downed North Little Rock's Lakewood Football Club 3-2, then the reigning state champs, the Conway Heat, 5-0, in an unexpected rout. The championship was won Sunday, 1-0, against the Little Rock Football Club.

The Comets went into the tournament on the momentum of an unexpected win over the Memorial Day weekend, defeating the tournament favorite Dallas Texans, the hometown host West Tennessee Dragons, and Arkansas champs Conway, to take first place at the Memphis Invitational Tournament.

Carmona plays football and runs track for the Green Forest High School Tigers.

To prepare for the Regionals, Carmona and his team are taking a week off, then practicing in Fayetteville for two weeks. Then the entire team will stay at John Brown University for six days, practicing three times daily.

The Arkansas Comets Under-15 team, considered the state's "dream team," was formed last fall from the top players of last year's Springdale Sting, Football Club United of Rogers-Bentonville, and the Berryville-based Central Ozark Soccer League all-stars, the Quest.

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