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United Dynamo squad wins second national championship

The South Dakota United Dynamo girls' soccer team won the U16 championship at the National Soccer Tournament on Monday. Courtesy photo

DENVER, Colo. – The South Dakota United Dynamo girls’ soccer squad won the U16 national championship on Monday in Denver. The same group of girls won the U15 national title last season and finished runner-up the year before that in U14.

The squad, which features Aberdeen players, Deshani Peters and Kailyn Poppen, defeated a team from South Carolina 5-0 in the championship game.

“We have a special team,’ said assistant coach Zamani Peters. “They’re a special group of girls.”

In five games in the national tournament, the South Dakota team outscored its opponents 30-2 and won four times, settling for a tie in the other contest that Peters called “our off game.”

He said the Dynamo dominated that game, put couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“We had that game,” he said. “I think we probably had 20 shots on their goal and they had one.”

The squad rebounded and won their final two games by a combined total of 12-0.

Pierre’s Ryann Berry scored four goals in the title game. Deshani Peters had six goals in the five games in the tourney.

Poppen, a midfielder, and Peters, a striker, are both key starters for the team that features players from Bismarck and Minot, N.D., Gillette, Wyo., as well as Spearfish, Rapid City and Pierre. The head coach is Harrisburg’s Amber Briden.

Coach Peters said the team has very limited time together throughout the year, but that doesn’t impact team chemistry when they all get together on the same pitch.

“Some of these girls don’t see each other for an entire year and when they see each other it’s like they’ve never separated. That’s what makes it work so well,” he said. “They all get along together after not seeing each other. It’s almost like they’ve never been apart. That’s a part that makes this team so special.”

Peters who started the team four years ago, plans to keep the core group together for as long as he can.

“I think we can go all the way to the U19 and I think they’ll be successful. Our plan is to keep this group together and just build off of this,” he said. “It’s something that’s hard to accomplish. It does not come easily and we already have it. We just have to capitalize on it.”

Peters understands how special this group of players is and now the rest of the country is finding out as well.

He said people will stop and ask him where they are from. When he informs them the United Dynamo is from South Dakota, another question usually follows: do they have soccer in South Dakota?

Peters is equipped with a resounding answer.

“We have real soccer in South Dakota,” he said. “Trust me, we have real soccer in South Dakota.”

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