Soccer Hall of Fame
National Champions Hall of Honor
January 26, 2013
1995 U-18 Girls USYSA Francis J. “Frank” Kelly
Cup National Champion
“And even if we are occupied
with most important things, if we attain to honour or fall
into great misfortune – still let us remember how
good it was once here, when we were all together, united
by a kind feeling which made us … better perhaps than
we are.” - Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
Just as they had hoped, the 1977 Raleigh Spartans were headed
to West Palm Beach, Florida in the summer of 1995, but not
without a little uncertainty. The team had captured their
first Southern Region (III) Championship a few weeks earlier
without the injured Beth Silverstein and Meredith Cage,
two key contributors. But this was a bigger stage - the
U-18 Girls USYSA Nationals – and the lineup looked
to remain the same. Winning would be a tall task, indeed.
The Spartans did have a championship pedigree. Since 1988,
numerous tournament titles had come their way, including
those from WAGS, the Raleigh (N.C.) Elks and their home
state. In addition, they were led by Coach Izzy Hernandez,
whose Broughton High School girls had won the state 4A championship
in May. Three of his players – Lindsay Stoecker, Kara
Marschalk and Beth Silverstein – brought that winning
experience with them. On paper, things looked fairly promising.
But any team that competes at the highest level knows games
are to be won on the field.
An interesting aspect of the Final Four was that the Spartans
would end up playing two clubs that were recent national
champions. In the semifinal it would be J.B. Marine, Region
II winners from St. Louis, Missouri and U-16 Cup holders
in 1993. That one ended up 4-3 for the Spartans, a tough
back-and-forth affair, and it so was on to the final.
The opponent would be the De Anza Magic, representing California
North and based in San Francisco. All they had done was
to win the U-17 Nationals the year before. The game was
After 81 minutes, De Anza scores to go up 2-0. But one minute
later it is Allison Osborne to Jennifer Plante to Megan
Jeidy, and the Spartans are one goal down. One more minute
later – you heard right – it is sweeper Sarah
Currie sending a long shot over the keeper. It is 2-2 in
the blink of an eye, and that is the way it would stay through
20 minutes of heart-stopping overtime.
In the unforgiving field of penalty kicks, it is Lindsay
Stoecker, yes; Liz Burnette, yes; Goalkeeper Allison Wahl,
yes with her save; Shannon Blair, yes; Jennifer Plante,
yes. A 4-1 PK win gives the Spartans the Kelly Cup, emblematic
of the U-18 U.S. championship. Megan Jeidy is Snickers MVP
and Fair Play Award winner, while Coach Hernandez achieves
a rare double: state and national championships in the same
year. It is a winner’s time.
August 16, 1995 was declared “Raleigh Spartans Day”
by Mayor Tom Fetzer.
Now, tonight, January 26, 2013, more than 17 years later,
the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame inducts that team
into its National Champions Hall of Honor.
Time passes. But champions stay. We honor North Carolina’s
first youth soccer national titleholders, a memorable part
of the summer of 1995.