BATON ROUGE -- There is no doubt that Class of 2013 signee Summer Clarke will be a welcomed addition to LSU's strike force during the collegiate season after scoring eight goals in just seven matches to lead the Vancouver Whitecaps Girls Elite team to the 2013 Gothia World Youth Cup title in the Under-19 division in Gothenburg, Sweden, during the past week.
Led by Clarke's game-winning goal in the seventh minute of action, the Whitecaps scored a 2-0 shutout of Sweden's Hovas-Billdal IF/Billdals BK in Friday's U-19 final held at The Gothia Arena.
According to http://www.whitecapsfc.com/, the official website of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Clarke opened the scoring from a tight angle in the seventh minute after receiving the ball in the box off a clinical passing sequence in midfield and rounding the goalkeeper for her eighth goal of the tournament.
After the Swedish side failed to equalize in the 15th minute when a free kick was fired off the crossbar, the Whitecaps extended their lead to 2-0 in the 24th minute of the first half when Sam Dion buried the penalty kick after Chelsea Harkins drew a foul in the area. The Whitecaps held their two-goal advantage over the final 66 minutes and took home their first ever Gothia World Youth Cup title.
The Vancouver Whitecaps won all seven matches played at the 2013 Gothia World Youth Cup, including their sweep of four matches in group play followed by three victories in the knockout rounds.
The Whitecaps swept through Group 2 with a 5-0 win over Sweden's Skollersta IF, a 4-1 win over Spain's Gasteizko Neskak, a 2-0 shutout of Sweden's QBIK and a 2-1 win over Norway's SK Hardhaus. They then took down defending U-19 Gothia Cup champions AIK FF of Sweden by a 4-0 margin in the quarterfinal before advancing to the final after a thrilling victory over Sweden's Eskilsminne DIF in the semifinal round on Thursday.
According to the team's website, the Whitecaps received an opportunity to compete at the 2013 Gothia World Youth Cup thanks to the late Wendy McDonald, one of the founding owners of Whitecaps Football Club in 1974.
In June 2012, Gothia World Youth Cup organizers SKF donated one entry for one Canadian team to McDonald in the celebration of her 90th birthday. Before her death in December, McDonald presented the entry to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite team as one of Canada's premier club teams.
Since its inception in 1975, the Gothia Cup has been held annually while becoming the world's largest youth football tournament. Each year, the competition hosts approximately 1,600 teams in 80 nations from across the world.
This year, the tournament held more than 4,000 matches on more than 100 fields across Sweden with the final held at The Gothia Arena in Gothenburg. Whitecaps FC was Canada's only representative in the girls U-19 division over the past week, while there were four other Canadian clubs competing in other divisions. Canada has now been represented in the Gothia World Youth Cup a total of 34 times in the tournament's 38 years of existence.