Charlie Thornton-White, center, guides the soccer ball during play at the National Premier League U-14 Championships in Denver, Colo. Photo courtesy of Stephan Avena

Charlie Thornton-White, center, guides the soccer ball during play at the National Premier League U-14 Championships in Denver, Colo. Photo courtesy of Stephan Avena

By MIKE MALTAIS

Liberty Bell High School sophomore Charlie Thornton-White and four teammates from around the county were among a team of U-14 soccer players who represented Washington state in tournament play at the 2013 National Premier League Championships held in Denver, Colo., earlier this month.

Thornton-White joined Nico Avena and Shjon Balauro of Omak and Victor Chacon and Felix Nava of Brewster on the Wenatchee Fire FC during five days of competition from July 18-22. He and his four county teammates were selected during annual tryouts for the Wenatchee Fire, according to Stephan Avena.

Teams from New York, California, Massachusetts, Texas, Illinois, Oregon, Mississippi, Florida, Maryland and Colorado made up the 14-team roster.

“The first thing out of the other teams’ mouths was ‘Where the heck is Wenatchee?’” reported Avena. “Of all the teams, we were obviously from the smallest town.”

The first team the Wenatchee Fire played on July 18 was Scott Gallagher St. Louis Metro representing Illinois, the team that eventually went on to win the championship.

Following a 4-0 loss to St. Louis, the Fire took on the Chicago Fire Juniors from Mississippi the following day in a well-played game that Wenatchee lost, 5-2.

On July 20, Wenatchee played its final match against the Pro Soccer Academy FC 98 from Maryland in a close contest that saw the Fire lose by only one goal, 3-2.

“This was the first time for the Wenatchee Fire as a club and for the state of Washington as a member of U.S. Club Soccer,” said Avena.

Ean Fenty and assistant Chad Morgan, both from Wenatchee, coached the Wenatchee Fire team.