SB Soccer Club teams clinch national semifinal berths

The Santa Barbara Soccer Club’s U18 and U16 boys teams improved to 2-0 in group play and clinched semifinal berths in their divisions at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships on Wednesday in Germantown, Md.

The SBSC U16s scored four unanswered goals and beat Chicago Magic Preacademy, 4-2. Santa Barbara, seeking its third straight national title, plays Dix Hills Elite of New York for first place in the group on Thursday. Santa Barbara has 6 points and Dix Hills Elite has 4 points.

The U18s rallied from a 1-0 deficit and defeated CUP Gold of Cincinnati, Ohio, 3-2, to stay unbeaten in group play. They’ll play 2-0 Lehigh Valley, Pa., for first place in the group on Thursday.

In each age division, the top two teams in two groups advance  to the semifinals on Saturday. The winners play for national titles on Sunday.

Miguel Pardon tied the score for the U18s against CUP Gold in the first half and Joseph Hernandez gave Santa Barbara a 2-1 lead. Ricky Reyes made it 3-1 with a goal in the 62nd minute.

The SBSC U16s got goals from Sahid Conteh, Tim Heiduk and Shea Blackman in the first half, and Dennis Cole scored in the fourth minute of the second half for a 4-0 lead. Chicago scored in the 45th and 79th minutes.