Lawton soccer team heads to regionals in Tulsa

The Lawton Dream Crushers will compete in the 3v3Live regional tournament Aug. 8 in Tulsa. Team members are, from left, Benjamin Bear, Dylan McEunn, Marquez Smith, Miguel Martinez, Braydon Frederick and Austin Kaplan. Not pictured are coaches Rich Frederick and Mike McEunn.

Sometimes the best-laid plans of a coach don’t produce the expected success on the field, however, when Rich Frederick put together his 12U Dream Crushers soccer team for the summer 3v3 season he knew there was a chance this bunch could be something special.

“I thought this bunch would be good because they are all at an accelerated skill level and have been playing a great deal together,” Frederick said. “They told me after winning that first game that they were going to go to nationals and now they have that chance.”

The Dream Crushers haven’t won a tournament this summer, but they’ve placed second twice, and third in another tournament and their point total has them ranked third nationally in their age group. That’s given them a slot in the regional Aug. 8 in Tulsa.

The Dream Crushers, who are sponsored by Nissan of Lawton, include Benjamin Bear, Dylan McEunn, Marquez Smith, Miquel Martinez, Braydon Frederick and Austin Kaplan. Bear and Frederick are the captains while Coach Frederick is assisted by Mike McEunn.

“Everything in 3v3 is based on tournament points,” Coach Frederick said. “If we can go to Tulsa and win that regional we would earn what is called a Golden Ticket which allows your team to compete at nationals with no entry fee.

“If we don’t win but stay in the Top 25 nationally, we can still pay our fee and compete. There will be some really strong teams; you don’t get to this level with an average bunch. But we feel good about these guys.”

3v3 was started as a way to improve the individual skills of players.

“3v3 is all about good ball movement and communication,” Coach Frederick said. “It also takes a great deal of hard work. These kids practice at least twice a week and when we don’t have Saturday tournaments we get together and work out. These kids will show up whenever we ask them to be there. They are as dedicated a group as you could find.”

The coach says the team is well balanced with the ability to handle different roles.

“This is a well-balanced group; they are all leaders,” he said. “One might have an off day but the others will all pick them up. Benjamin Bear is really a great leader but all of them, even when they are on the sidelines, they are still communicating and helping those on the field.”

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