Jacksonville FC girls U14 soccer team wins in PKs, advances to ECNL National Finals

The Jacksonville FC U14 girls soccer team is headed to the ECNL National Finals this month in Virginia.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – They’re not done quite yet.

The Jacksonville FC U14 girls soccer team swept the competition in the ECNL Champions League Playoffs, including a dramatic win in penalty kicks on Monday afternoon in the knockout round in Bradenton.

Next stop: JFC is headed to the ECNL National Finals July 17-18 in Richmond, Va.

And JFC is going there after a win in dramatic fashion.

It beat the Indiana Fire 5-4 in PKs to get there. Goalkeeper Lillian Holden denied the Fire’s fourth PK attempt and Sydney Schmidt knocked through the winner as JFC moved on.

“It took 18 kids to get to where we got, especially through four games. The girls who were substitutes came on and did a great job,” said coach Brad Schmidt. “It’s tough, an event like that, because all the games are really high level. And to do four and five days at that level, you have to have 18 players to be able to do it.”

JFC beat the Minnesota Thunder 5-3 in their opener, beat Eagles SC 5-1 and atoned for a regular season loss to PDA Blue with a 3-0 win. Defense ruled in the knockout round Monday.

Taliah Brooks had five goals for JFC in the four games. Natalie Brooks followed with two. Sarah Aquino, Sofia Bushkell, Mattie Gilliam, Sydney Schmidt, Isabelle Whitaker and Abigal Wooten all scored goals for JFC in the tournament.

“You don’t say destined very often but a lot of things this group’s been through this year. And a really close knit group of girls that play and fight for each other and it’s been a lot of fun to help them get where they want to go.”

Also in the girls nationals, the Florida Elite U16 squad dropped its three matches in the ECNL event.

In the boys ENCL nationals in Greensboro, the Florida Elite U14 has dropped its first two games. Florida Elite’s U16 squad is 1-1 entering its final game. Florida Elite’s U18/19 squad won its opener against GSA, 5-4, but lost its second round game to the San Diego Surf 1-0 to drop into the loser’s bracket.

The boys tournament continues throughout the week.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.