When the high school soccer season starts in late August, two Chesapeake players will bring an abundance of big-game experience to their county pursuits.
Aaron Golden and Lucas Panzer-Valdivia, both rising sophomores at Chesapeake, were instrumental in helping their Soccer Association of Columbia club team to the championship of the 15U Maryland President’s Cup this summer, and for an encore, they teamed to represent Pasadena on a national stage this summer.
The eight-team President’s Cup played this past spring featured a round of pool play prior to a four-team elimination round. The SAC 15U Premier Blue team on which Golden and Panzer-Valdivia both play finished second in its pool group to advance to the knockout stage before defeating Premier Soccer Navy 2004 in the semifinals and SAC Premier White, 3-0, in the championship on April 28 in Aberdeen.
From there, SAC advanced to the Eastern Regionals, where the team advanced all the way to the championship and won, defeating the Gunners of Pennsylvania, 3-1, at Shawnee Sportsplex in West Virginia on June 18.
The Eastern Regional championship victory advanced the team to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Nashville, Tennessee, from July 10-July 14.
Golden, a winger and striker, and Panzer-Valdivia, a central midfielder and defender, played on the Pasadena Soccer Club Black Lions from 2012-2017. They will move from SAC to the ultra-competitive and renowned Baltimore Celtic club after nationals this summer.
Both are excited to experience success at the state, regional and national level and hope their experiences will pay further dividends once they are back in Cougar uniforms this fall, and as they earn greater exposure in front of college coaches.
“We are excited to represent the eastern region [at nationals]; it’s a huge honor,” said Golden. “I am hoping to use what I learn here to help me better myself for the upcoming high school season. This is a great opportunity to get seen on a whole different level. With that said, I’m hoping some scouts for college give us a look.”
Panzer-Valdivia believes the experience has strengthened them as players and teammates.
“I’m very proud to have played with my team in the President’s Cup, regionals, and now to represent the state of Maryland and the Northeast Region in the nationals in Tennessee,” said Panzer-Valdivia. “Whether we win or lose, the experience playing at this level of competition will make me and my team better players. I am looking forward to these last games with my team before moving on to playing at CHS in the fall.”