BECKLEY - Twelve boys representing Upshur, Lewis, Randolph, Taylor and Harrison counties refused to be defeated in the recent WVSA State Soccer Championship held at Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex.
With the odds stacked against them, the level of determination and tenacity demonstrated by Mid-State Mayhem's U-13 is what the sports world refers to as a "Cinderella Story." In American and Canadian sports, a "Cinderella Story" refers to a team or player who advances much further in a tournament or career than originally anticipated.
The road to this elite tournament was not an easy one for Mid-State Mayhem. Having to endure multiple coaching changes, a team size of only 12 (which left a single substitute player) and a goalie with a broken hand would end most teams' seasons. But for this group of boys, failure was never an option to be considered. Mid-State Mayhem fought their way through the season winning or tying enough games to make it to the WVSA State Championship semi-finals. Ranked last at the tournament onset, Mid-State faced the No. 1 ranked team, WVUSC Revolution from Morgantown, which had dominated their season with an undefeated record.
The Mid-State Mayhem U-13 soccer team recently won the WVSA State Soccer Championship in Beckley. Members of the team include, front row from left, Ethan Wilson, Tyler Whiteman, JR Keener, Kole Kessler, Liam Gongola, Cody Whiter; second row, Cam Martin, George Triplett, Jay Terhardt, Greyson Howell, Chrisstopher Kiess, Trevor Short and coach Keith Moran
With everything on the line in this single elimination semi-final match, Mid-State battled its way through what was deemed by onlookers as one of the most intensely competitive games of soccer ever witnessed at this level, to emerge victorious in a nail-biting 2-1 win over Revolution. Mid-State went on to defeat second-ranked Tri-County Lightning from Martinsburg in the championship match by a 2-0 margin to win the title.
The team proved with the right mix, resolve and fortitude, anything is possible. But this degree of motivation does not happen accidentally; only through the leadership and inspiration of newly- appointed coach Keith Moran, were the Mid-State Mayhem boys given the vision that proved successful.