KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In the 34th minute of the USSDA National Championship, 13-year-old Jaedyn Shaw, Dallas' captain, received a pass around the 30-yard line. She turned towards goal, took three more touches and struck the ball towards the top right corner of the goal, beating Legends FC goalie Hannah Arneson.
“Her getting on that ball about 30 yards out from goal and beating a player and pushing it past and then hitting a perfect shot, that what was exactly what we needed at that time of the game,” Head Coach Matt Grubb said. “She has always been that big-game player for us. She’s always been the one that when we are struggling to shine.”
The goal ended up being the game-winner, as FC Dallas defeated Legends FC 2-0 to capture the inaugural U-15 Girls' Academy Playoff Championship.
FCD did not dominate the game, but the defense held strong and did not give up any dangerous chances to a Legends team that had scored at least two goals in each of their last five matches.
“We didn’t really have run-of-play that much in the game, but we were extremely organized and extremely compact,” Grubb said. “We were really good in the air and we were really competitive. Realistically, that’s what really won us the game.”
Riley Baker scored the insurance goal for Dallas in the 56th minute. It was Baker’s second goal in Kansas City, and her seventh goal in the team’s last 10 games.
“Riley has come on of late,” Grubb said. “She worked her tail off and got so much better from the start of the season to now.”
FCD only lost two of their 36 matches this season, and only dropped one match in the league after September 9.
“There was some unbelievable synergy with this group,” Grubb said. “There was this unwavering belief in each other and it wasn’t necessarily that we thought we were the best team and that we would win every game, but it was just this unbelievable belief in each other, this heart for each other, to work for each other.”
The title is FC Dallas’ fifth Academy championship. No other Academy has produced more than two wins.
“Our ownership has committed themselves to the hiring staff; we have a goalkeeper trainer, I have assistants that are with me all the time, and we have great facilities,” Grubb said. “We do things at FC Dallas the right way, in a special way.”