SOLAR SOCCER CLUB SHINES IN 4-0 SEMIFINAL WIN TO EARN SPOT IN U-18/19 ACADEMY CHAMPIONSHIP

By Terry Monahan

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 27 2018) - Back when she was just 4 years old, Alexis Missimo dressed up in a cheerleading outfit to root on the Solar Soccer Club's U-19 team.

"That seems like a long time ago,'' Missimo said.

Born in 2003, Missimo has shined as she plays up for that same Solar U-18/19 team.

She doesn't lead the cheers any longer. She creates them.

Missimo scored two goals, including her first less than three minutes into Wednesday's U-18/19 Playoff Semifinal at SoCal Sports Complex, to lead Solar to a convincing 4-0 victory over Boston Breakers Academy. The win advances Solar to Friday's Academy Championship match against the winner of the day's other semifinal between LAFC Slammers and Crossfire Premier.

"I will be nervous for that game until we start playing,'' Missimo said. "I'm nervous for every game. Just big butterflies.''

The other team ought to be nervous with Missimo and Trinity Byars, who also is playing up this season for Solar, together on the field.

Missimo and Byars, who have been teammates since they were six-years-old, just two years after Missimo's cheerleading days, and both have verbally committed to play NCAA soccer at Texas.

"I was intimidated in my first U-19 game,'' Missimo said. "I was scared because most of the players looked like adults. After that first game I felt better about playing so far up.''

In the semifinal, Missimo converted a pass from Byars in the third minute for a quick 1-0 lead. In the 29th, Missimo let a ball pass her by to set-up Riley Mattingly for a wide-open shot on goal that pushed the lead to 2-0.

Solar was not done in the first half. Byars set up Missimo once again. Her goal in the 34th minute made it 3-0.

"Those two have played together so long,'' said Solar coach Ionut Solca. "They're more like sisters.''

Early in the second half, Courtney Sebazco tallied for Solar to cap off the scoring.

"I thought we were really prepared for them,'' Missimo said. "We were able to keep their big goalscorers from hurting us. Splitting their midfielders really worked for us.''

That defensive move kept the Breakers' offense, the nation's best in the regular season, from seriously threatening the Solar net all day long. Solar 'keeper Tatum Sutherland registered the shutout but only had to make four saves on the Breakers.