Rough Riders Recap: Super Y League National Finals

Written by Michael Lewis, Front Row Soccer

Success can be defined in several ways.

Winning is the best gauge, and winning championships is even better.

But there are different levels of success, as a pair of Long Island Rough Riders teams demonstrated this past year.

The Rough Riders’ Girls Under-13 and Boys U-12 teams excelled and reached the USL Super Y League national finals in Tampa, Fla. in December.

While they didn’t win titles in their respective age groups, both sides were given a thumbs’ up by Riders’ Program Director, Adam Allaway.

“We had a highly successful summer season,” he remarked. “Both teams approached it with the mindset that we were there to compete at the highest level.”

The Girls U-13 squad finished second in its division and reached the semifinals, tying, but losing in a penalty-kick shootout. The Boys U-12 team also took second place in its division but did not qualify for the final four.

“It’s always tough to lose,” A. Allaway expressed regarding the Girls’ team. He added that he believed the team’s success was “more about accomplishing their goals during the 90 minutes of play on that day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite make that final push over the line during the penalties. Nevertheless, everyone involved, including the coach, and myself as the director was immensely proud of the progress the players made through the tournament.”

The Girl’s team, coached by Megan Allaway, was captained by central midfielder Christina Vargas.

“Her resilience shone throughout the entire tournament, especially in closely contested games. During critical moments, she managed to break the deadlock and showcase an extra level of skill in the attacking third” remarked M. Allaway.

Guest players Alexis Palmer, a goalkeeper, and Brooke Palmer, a center back (no relation), helped the defense.

“Alexis made a crucial penalty save in an earlier game of the tournament, noted M.  Allaway. “Brooke also brought stability to our backline. They serve as fantastic role models, showcasing discipline, resilience, quality, and the human side of the game. We all make mistakes, and not everyone achieves their individual goals, but that doesn’t mean the team’s overall goal is compromised by those setbacks.

A. Allaway also praised Boys team captain Ben Meijer’s performance. The Boys were coached by Thomas Graham.

“I was highly impressed,” he remarked. “He has served as our captain for two years in this age group, and he has shown remarkable growth. We are counting on him to continue as captain in the 2024 season. His on-field skills are unparalleled despite being just 12 years old, he demonstrates true leadership. He exemplifies the club’s value of respect, and discipline, and serves as a role model for others.”

A. Allaway has been encouraged by the improvement of the programs on the Boy’s and Girl’s sides.

“The program is consistently improving, especially in the quality of players. The coaches we bring in from the UK or Europe have a significant impact on our summer program,” he explained. “This enables us to construct and nurture teams capable of competing at the national level. Hopefully, in the years ahead, we’ll find ourselves at the top if continue to compete in Tampa. 

He also would love to see more Rough Riders teams compete at the USL Super Y League national finals in 2024 and beyond.

“As the Program Director, our primary objectives are to enhance the skills of players participating in our summer program,” A. Allaway explained. “With multiple teams across various age groups, our aim is to maintain competitiveness and secure top positions within our conference brackets throughout the year. Additionally, we are committed to delivering the highest quality coaching services to everyone involved in our program.”

“In terms of achieving results and setting goals, our aspiration is to elevate our representation from three to four teams in the final upcoming years. We firmly believe in the quality of players within our club and affiliated clubs, and we are confident in making a significant impact on the national level.”


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