Vega helps Moondogs win title

Appeal Staff Report

Douglas High School student Eddie Vega helped the Reno Moondogs under-15 boys age group soccer team win the high-powered Irvine Nike Harvest Cup in Southern California over Thanksgiving weekend.

This marked the fifth tournament championship in 2005 for the Moondogs, a team comprised of players from the Reno, Truckee and Carson Valley/Carson City area. They won four previous California tournaments - the Clovis Challenge Cup, The Nike Invitational Cup in Thousand Oaks, The San Francisco Cup and The Placer Prestige Cup - and winning the Nike Harvest Cup in Irvine was no small achievement, according to coach Barry Wardell.

"This latest success was massive," he said. "The Nike Harvest Cup is ranked the 12th toughest in the nation and is classified as a platinum tournament because of the quality of teams that qualify to play."

The tournament attracted 456 teams and games were played at 26 different locations in the Irvine area, with the finals being held at the campus of the University of California, Irvine. As members of the winning team, the Moondogs also had an opportunity to meet LA Galaxy player and US National star soccer player Landon Donovan, Wardell pointed out.

The Moondogs compiled a 4-1 record, scoring a total of 19 goals. In the qualifying group, they rallied from a 3-1 halftime deficit to win 4-3 against Del Sol, the No. 1 ranked U15 team from Arizona.

Vega, who played for Douglas High's J.V. soccer team this fall, contributed a goal to tie the score at 3-3. Even though the Moondogs lost their second game to Paris St. Germain, 4-2, they bounced back to win their third game group qualifying game 5-2 against the SVSC Eclipse and qualify for the semifinals. The Moondogs scored three second half goals en route to their win.

The Moondogs advanced to the finals by defeating the talented Celtic Harps in a 4-2 thriller. The Celtic Harps, from San Bernardino are ranked as one of the top 30 teams in country, according to Wardell. The Moondogs scored two unanswered goals in the second half to win.

In the Championship game, the Moondogs played Porterville Juventus, another top California team, and won in overtime 3-2 after twice coming back from a goal down in regulation. Reno High student Casey Wardell scored the winning goal in sudden death overtime.

"I was very proud of the boys," Wardell said. "The players were extremely tired by the time they got to the fifth and final game. We were down to only 11 fit players in the second half, so we had no substitutions available, but they showed tremendous character in digging deep and finding a way to pull off a remarkable win.

"This is such a talented group of players, some of the one- and two-touch soccer they play is at times truly amazing," the coach added. "They are capable of challenging any team in the country in their age group and this tournament proved that. They are a credit to the community and deserve to be recognized."

The Reno Moondogs only exist because of the kind people that want to see Northern Nevada have a successful soccer team and take the name of Reno out to the soccer world with pride and the Moondogs would like to thank all the sponsors who have made this team possible, it costs over $25,000 a year to enable this team to travel and spread the word that soccer is alive and well in Northern Nevada. If you are interested in make a tax-deductible donation to the Reno Moondogs please email us at

2 attached pictures 1) team picture,

Back row L to R: Casey Wardell, Oscar Cuevas, Sergio Mercado, Victor Islas, Jonathan Morales, Halan Almazan, Braeden DeLong, Morro Sarabia and Alex Sanchez.

Front Row L to R: Barry Wardell Coach, Victor Rodriguez, JB Olson, Austin Schuveiller, Eddie Vega, Rendell Chavez and Trevor Johnson.

2) 2nd picture is of Eddie Vega and the Moondogs meeting Landon Donovan the LA Galaxy player and US National team Soccer Star.


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