Local girls competing with select soccer team
BY HEIDI ZENEFSKI
Three Montrose-area girls are playing soccer on a high-level select U14 team based out of Binghamton, N.Y. Rising eighth-graders Madison Gilhool, Gabrielle Davis, and Brianna Spence play with other girls that attend schools in Broome County, N.Y.
The team they play on is a National League U14 Greater Binghamton Football Club (GBFC) team coached by Endicott, N.Y. native, Chris Riley.
Riley says, “These girls have been playing together for three years and have improved substantially each year. They work hard, are extremely dedicated, and are truly fun to watch.”
The Riley Select team returned to regional tournament in Rhode Island this year, June 26-July 2.
The team made it through the early rounds complete shutouts, 1-0, 1-0, 1-0; and continued the streak in the semi-finals, holding the other team scoreless for another 1-0 win.
In the finals, they came up against the #1 ranked team in the country and sustained a 1-0 loss.
Aside from their success on the soccer field the team also earned another achievement, which might be more important than winning regional championships because it shows the character of the girls on the team.
They won the Fair Play Award, awarded by the officials based on cooperation of players, cooperation of coaches, and overall game conduct.
After the Regional Tournament new rankings were awarded across the country. The GBFC Select Riley team is now ranked #1 in NY State West, # 9 in Region 1, and #15 in the country.
The team qualified for the regional tournament both this year and last year by winning the State Cup for New York West division.
Coach Riley played Division I NCAA soccer and is a former professional soccer player who now devotes his time to coaching youth soccer and is the founder and director of the GBFC.
The team plays against some of the top competitors in the country and has had a lot of success in what they do. Some of their accomplishments are:
*Region 1 Premier League Champions -2014
*NYW State Cup Champions -2013
*Thruway League Champions (2 different divisions) -2013
*Bethesda Thanksgiving Tournament Champions -2013
*Spirit United Kickoff Classic Champions -2013
Thruway League Champions -2012
*SAC United Champions -2012
*Spirit United Kickoff Classic Champions -2012
The team has traveled to Richmond, Va., twice to compete in the invitation-only Jefferson Cup.
It takes a lot of time and dedication to participate on a team like this. They travel a lot. Aside from the tournaments listed above the team has played in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
The team has a goal of competing at the 2014/2015 US Youth Soccer National League – U14 Girls Division and to be the first team from the Binghamton area to compete at the National Level.
The girls on the team seem to be a close-knit group of friends who play well together and enjoy spending time together.
Gilhool says she “really enjoys playing with this group of girls. We have a great relationship on and off the field.”
She respects her coach and has learned so much playing for him and feels honored to be a part of the Riley Select team.
Spence agrees, “It’s an honor to make it this far. I am very excited to see how far we can go together as a team. We all get along and play so well together.”
In addition to their teamwork on the field, the girls also give back to the community for the support they receive.
They spend time working with Special Olympics, helping youth soccer teams (Ages 4 – 11) with coaching and officiating, and volunteering in local nursing homes.
Gilhool is the daughter of Joe and Dana Gilhool of Montrose; Spence is the daughter of David and Karen Spence of Montrose; and Davis is the daughter of Scott and Kelly Davis of Forest Lake.