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Botafogo Off to a Great Start at Nationals!

Posted by Phil Nielsen at Jul 25, 2012 1:27PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo continues its great run of form with a 2-0 win over the Chilipeppers from Northern California. Zoe Swift got the eventual game-winner halfway through the first half off a perfect through-ball from Gianna Dal Pozzo, and Gianna Dal Pozzo turned goal-scorer 15 minutes into the 2nd half from a Hope D’Addario free kick to secure the 3 points.

Megan Geldernick recorded her 4th consecutive post-season shutout in goal.

Tomorrow morning at 7:30am EDT Botafogo will face the Region III champions CESA from South Carolina. CESA opened with a 3-1 loss to Legends FC today.


Press Release 7/23/12
Charlotte, NC

It has been a hot and hectic journey for Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo, U17 girls from Aurora, Illinois, on their way toward Rock Hill, South Carolina and the USYS National Championship. Since capturing the Illinois State title on June 17th and the Region II title on June 27th in Saginaw, MI, in soaring temperatures, Botafogo came home to Illinois to host the Danish U18 National Champions Broendby IF.

The Danes were in the U.S. as a partnership between Team Chicago Academy and Broendby IF to enhance the international development of both clubs’ players. In an exhibition match last week on Botafogo’s home turf, the Danes displayed an intriguing brand of soccer, but Botafogo was equal to the task and won 2-1, showing their own beautiful style.

The Broendby IF also met Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo Olympic Development Program (ODP) Region II players Gianna Dal Pozzo, Jenna Romano, Bryce Banuelos, Meegan Johnston, Rachele Armand, Megan Geldernick, and Zoey Goralski at the USYS Region II ODP training camp at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, earlier in July when temperatures soared near 100 degrees there. They were coached by Marquette University’s Head Women’s Coach Markus Roeders,

The international experience was crucial to all players involved according Team Chicago Elite Academy Director, and Region II ODP Senior Staff Coach, Phil Nielsen.

“Our American players are rarely presented with the opportunity to play the cream of the crop of international youth teams, and the learning curve was steep for many players.

In order to keep up with the progress that is being made in girls youth development around the world it is pivotal for our elite players to have a steady exposure to international competition.

Our partnership with Broendby IF is an attempt to assure that our Team Chicago Academy players get the most advanced international development in the country, and in the process we also want to help the USYS Region II ODP program players get a similar exposure,” Nielsen said.

The two clubs were linked because Nielsen is a Danish national with strong ties to the elite soccer environment in his home country.

Broendby IF’s team includes four U19 National Team players who just won bronze at the European Championships in Turkey, three U17 National Team players who also just won bronze at the European Championships in Switzerland, and two U16 National Team players who just finished 4th at the Nordic Cup, the most elite U16 tournament in the world.

The Danish provided a high-level international challenge that Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo needed in order to prepare for the stiff competition awaiting them at the USYS National Championships this week. In addition to the seven Region II ODP Team players, Botafogo also boasts three players with National Team experience – Zoe Swift, Jenna Romano, and Zoey Goralski.

With the level of talent between the clubs, there is a good chance that the players will meet again at the international level or at the NCAA Division I level. Several of the Danish players were offered scholarships to play Division I soccer upon being seen on their visit here.

The common journey will continue for the two teams immediately after the National Championships. Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo players and their families will make a quick return to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Sunday to board a plane to Copenhagen, Denmark, where the team is to participate in the prestigious Broendby Cup against some of the top Danish and German U18 teams.

Botafogo will reside and practice at the Danish National Training Center. In addition to participating in the Broendby Cup, the team will be trained by the Broendby IF Women’s Professional Team Head Coach Peer Lisdorf.

Lisdorf guided the outfit to both the Danish National Championship and the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League last season before falling to the eventual champions Olympic Lyon from France. Finally, Botafogo is scheduled to play an exhibition match against the Broendby IF pros.


Team Chicago Academy-Santos winger Olivia Schmitt has accepted a very generous scholarship to continue her soccer career at the University of Illinois. Olivia – who plays her prep soccer for Joe Moreau at Neuqua Valley H.S. – will be part of Head Coach Janet Rayfield’s 2014 recruiting class. She will link up with Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo standouts Hope D’Addario and Meegan Johnston who are part of the 2013 recruiting class.

The Fighting Illinois finished the 2011 season with a Big Ten Championship win over Penn State, and a win over Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament before losing to 4th-ranked Oklahoma State.


Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo claimed the U17 USYSA Region II Championship title with a convincing 3-0 win over the Wisconsin State Champions North Shore United. With the win Botafogo advance to the USYSA National Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina July 24-29th. This marks the first time that a Team Chicago team has won Regionals and advanced to Nationals.

Botafogo took an early lead when Zoey Goralski intercepted the ball at the halfway line and drove at the heart of the North Shore defense before slipping a perfect pass to Ashley Handwork who calmly tucked the ball into the far corner. The insurance goal came at the hour-mark when Zoe Swift pressured a North Shore defender and knocked the ball to Kaitlin Johnson who cut across the recovering defender and gave a great pass for Bryce Banuelos to scored easily. The final goal came in the final 5 minutes as Meegan Johnston’s 3rd inch-perfect corner kick in row was headed home with some force by Dana Miller.

Megan Geldernick earned the 3rd shutout in a row in goal, and only conceded 3 goals in 5 games at Regionals. Botafogo outscored their opponents 18-3 over the 5 games, and Zoe Swift earned the Golden Boot as the most prolific scorer at the event with her 5 goals.

Botafogo Advance to the Regional Final!

Posted by Phil Nielsen at Jun 26, 2012 12:36PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

Team Chicago Academy-Botafogo advanced to the USYSA Region II Championship Game with a 2-0 win over Michigan Futbol Club in the semi-final. Ashley Handwork got what proved to be the game-winner midway through the first half, and Zoey Goralski clinched the victory with 5 minutes left in the game off Bryce Banuelos’ perfect pass. Megan Geldernick got her second shutout in a row in goal.

Tomorrow’s final will be against the Wisconsin State Cup Champions North Shore United. The game kicks off at 8:30am EDT.



Team Record