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Boise Timbers U12 boys celebrate their IYSA Directors Cup championship Oct. 4 at Nampa Optimist Park. Front row, from left, Christian Huffman and Xavi Vazquez. Back row, from left, Taj Redman, Ian Avalos, Aaro Hart, Tommy Hovey, Jayten Duppong, Max Chasan, Caleb Atkins, goalkeeper Blake Johnston, Hayden Gvozdas, Cole Cherwin. Standing in back row is coach Greg Gvozdas.

Three Wood River Valley youth soccer players and their Hailey-based coach helped the Boise Timbers U12 boys’ soccer team to the championship of the Idaho Youth Soccer Association (IYSA) Directors Cup tournament Oct. 4 in Nampa.

IYSA hosted 116 boys’ and girls’ teams in U10 through U15 age divisions, and awarded 22 championships after two days of play in Nampa and Caldwell. The Directors Cup tournament had been postponed from May due to COVID-19 concerns, and strict protocols were observed Oct. 3-4 by the IYSA.

In an exciting title game of the 2009 age division, Boise Timbers U12 defeated the Idaho Rush Blue 3-1 at Nampa Optimist Park. Idaho Rush, the No. 1-ranked team in Idaho by Gotsoccer.com, had outscored three preliminary opponents by a resounding 24-0 margin before the finale.

Boise Timbers (outscoring foes 22-5 for the tourney) earned its title game berth in the six-team division with a 4-2 win over Inferno Copa of Caldwell, a 6-1 victory over Timbers North of Coeur d’Alene and a 9-1 rout of Portneuf Valley Soccer Club of Pocatello in the semi-final game.

Wood River players for the Timbers, all in sixth grade, were defensive central midfielder Hayden Gvozdas of Hemingway STEAM School (4 goals, 8 assists), right wing Tommy Hovey of Sun Valley Community School (6 goals, 1 assist) and defender Taj Redman of Wood River Middle School (1 goal).

Coach was Greg Gvozdas, a Hemingway STEAM School teacher and former Wood River High School girls’ soccer head coach.

Nine of the 12 Timbers players scored goals in the well-balanced offensive attack. Other Timbers players were goalkeeper Blake Johnston, Aaro Hart, Caleb Atkins, Christian Huffman, Cole Cherwin, Max Chasen, Ian Avalos, Xavi Vazquez and Jayten Duppong.

In a thrilling 50-minute championship game, Hovey put Boise Timbers on top 1-0 in the 10th minute on a cross from Chasen. Idaho Rush Blue equalized 1-1 in the 18th minute. The game unfolded at a frenetic pace, featuring back-and-forth action through half and after.

Shortly after halftime, Boise Timbers earned a penalty kick that was saved by the Idaho Rush keeper. Six minutes into the half, Hayden Gvozdas broke the deadlock for the Timbers. He stepped up and fired a 25-yard free kick into the right corner.

Idaho Rush, now trailing 2-1, unleashed a flurry of attacks that were repelled by the strong Timbers defense led by Avalos, Duppong, Gvozdas and Redman. Two minutes before the final whistle, Chasen iced the game 3-1 on a Hovey cross pass.

Coach Gvozdas said, “Both teams worked very hard, and showed good class afterward by acknowledging each other with the new, distant claps of appreciation and respect.”

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