Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Congratulations go out to the trio of Kai Longanecker, Noah Merrill and Ty Kindelspire for leading the Idaho ODP squad to the Tier 2 Championship at the recent Far West ODP Championship event held in California. Idaho swept its group and downed Arizona and Eastern Pennsylvania to take the title.

The run began with a 3-1 victory against Arizona Friday. Tallying one of the goals in the game was Kindelspire, a nice first-time effort from about 25 yards out. The results continued with a 4-1 victory against Alaska Saturday in which Longanecker set up two of the goals for Idaho from his goalkeeper position.

“It was a really good experience playing with such a quality group and a great time playing other states. I enjoyed the competition and winning a high level tournament. It was fun to represent the state of Idaho alongside my teammates from club.”

They closed things out with another 3-1 win Sunday morning, this time against New Mexico, to lock up a spot in the semifinals of the 10-team bracket.

“Honestly, this squad felt really good. everyone played really well together and we all were driven to win,” said Kindelspire. “Everyone put in a shift and we saw the end result that it paid off.”

If Longanecker’s heroics in offensive contribution were not enough, a 2-2 stalemate in the semifinal against Illinois led to more in the tiebreaker.  In the shootout he jumped into the limelight by stopping the first two attempts for a commanding advantage and possibly leading to a psychological advantage that saw the third attempt from Illinois miss the target to give them the tiebreaker win after just three rounds.

“One of my favorite moments was winning the semifinals in a penalty shootout,” said Merrill. “It was so nerve-racking but at the end it was so hype and everyone was so happy. Especially Kai saving three of their three penalty kicks too. I have never seen anything like that – it’s crazy that he was able to do that for us.”

“Overall, it was an awesome event, and I had a lot of fun! I thought I did a solid job on defense and helping the team out the best I could back there with a team I haven’t played with till the tournament.”

The boys and Idaho capped the event off Monday with a resounding 4-1 championship victory against Eastern Pennsylvania, a side that swept its four-team group and won its semifinal 2-0 against Arizona.


In addition to the trio of boys at the event, a pair of girls players were representing Idaho at the event. Aubrie Johnson and Caprice Millar played on the G2011 squad at the Far West Regionals. Unfortunately, the team was in a tough three-team group that saw all three teams go 2-1-0 in their cross-group pool play against the other three-team group, finishing third among their group in the tiebreakers.

Additionally, Sounders Junior Program director and Shadow Men’s First Team head coach Mike Pellicio was at the event coaching the B2008 squad that went 2-2-0 in their five-team group.


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