Patriots FC won the Girls Under-18 US Youth Soccer national championship in Orlando on July 23.

With most of the players coming from Westchester County, Patriots FC won all five games and outscored its opponents, 13-1.

The final was between two teams from the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association and Patriots defeated Long Island’s Middle Country SBMC, 2-0, on goals by Leah Rifas and Micaela Ross to become national champions.

“I believe the main characteristics that propelled us to winning the national championship were the togetherness and teamwork of the group,” Patriots head coach Phil Bannister said. “Every girl played a significant part over our five games. The fact that this was our last tournament together made winning the national championship even more special!”

Patriots FC also is the state champions, having defeated Force FC, 2-1, in extratime on June 4 in LaGrange, N.Y. to win the Richard Christiano Cup. The team conceded only one goal in the State Cup, scoring 18 times.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at