Time to take a look back at the MU19 WFCQ and the road to qualifying for the MU19 World Floorball Championships in Denmark next year.
On September 4th, 2022, the under 19 men’s team for USA floorball qualified against Canada for a spot in the 2023 World Floorball Championships in Denmark. The two qualification games were played in Salt Lake City, Utah. Team USA’s U19 men’s beat Canada’s U19 men’s with the final combined score of 20-9.
It’s the United States vs. Canada. The game is intense. The fans are screaming and chanting. The teams are sweating with fatigue and anticipation. The clock hits the last ten seconds of the final game. The countdown can be heard from the stands. The buzzer hits. The stands erupt with cheers. The players storm the court in celebration. The game has ended. Team USA has successfully qualified for the 2023 U19 Men’s Floorball World Cup.
Team USA’s men's U19 has been awaiting this moment for years prior. Due to Covid, the 2021 games were canceled. Team USA hasn’t been able to compete in the World Championships since the 2019 games in Halifax, Canada.
To qualify for the World Championships, the Americans had to beat Canada in most points of two games. The final score for game one was 11-5 to team USA. The next night held another great win for team USA with the score of game two finishing at 9-4. The final points leading to team USA’s qualification victory was 20-9.
However, the victory was not an easy one. Team USA’s journey to Denmark has been long and suspenseful. Back in January of 2020, one of U19’s current coaches, Daniel Williamsson, took USA Floorball’s first national Y16 development team to Sweden to participate in the Gothia Cup. The team consisted of current men’s U19 players Leo Pedersen, Alex Trybom, Ryan Stejskal, Keene Addington, Drake Bartolai, Luke Williamsson and Hugo Rouvinen. The players were inexperienced with playing together and for the most part, had never met each other prior to the tournament.
The Y16 development team also played in Utah in 2021. The team participated in the adult leagues even though all players were under 16 years of age. In both Sweden and Utah, the team’s goal was to develop their skills and play experience with each other. Both tournaments proved difficult for the trainees. However, even at a young age the players’ talent and raw skill could be seen in their ability to keep up with their older and more experienced competitors.
The purpose for the development team was to bring kids from across the country together to scout for players to represent team USA. Dedicated players who wished to be on team USA put forth effort in their club team and national training. The Y16 development team was the foundation to develop the upcoming U19 men’s players. Once a roster was made, the real training began.
The men's U19 participated in many tournaments to train together for qualifiers. In 2021 the team played in the US floorball adult nationals in Birmingham, Alabama. Also, in 2021 the team participated in the Golden Gate Cup in San Jose, California. In 2022 the team played in the Texas Open in Arlington, Texas. In all these tournaments, the team faced the same challenges; playing against older and more experienced floorball teams. However, as each tournament ended and a new one began, players, coaches and fans alike began to see change. The U19 men’s team was becoming stronger. They were able to not only stand their ground against their competitors, but also beat them.
In the 2022 Texas Open, the men’s U19 team was able to place third among the adults of the tournament. The U19 players’ and coaches hard work was beginning to pay off. The impressive growth of skill and knowledge of game play was evident. The team had never been so well rounded and advanced. Through all these tournaments the U19 team has reached a ranking of #6 of the club teams in the country.
In Texas three U19 players played in the US Men’s team’s qualifiers against Canada. These players were Keene Addington, Maximus Blanco, Alex Radichel
In the recent fall of 2022, the players had arrived in Utah. Before the two qualifying games, there was one last training camp held. Team USA was ready for Canada.
“It has been an incredible experience to coach the team all these tournaments and see the growth of U19 and also the younger Y16 kids coming up behind them. The last few years of youth development in U.S. has been great, but we have only gotten started.” says coach Daniel Williamsson.
The 2022 roster for the U19 men’s team includes Rylan Rasmussen and Ethan Vanpatten in goal, Robin Aebersold, Almir Basir, Nico Gray, Isak Kelty, Alex Radichel, Hugo Rouvinen, and Alex Trybom defending, and Keene Addington, Maximus Blanco, Leonardo Blanco, Ryan Folic, Leo Pedersen, Ryan Stejskal, Adam Takacs, Janis Tveten, Landon Vanpatten, Luke Williamsson, and Cache Wilson playing forward.
“We’re intensely proud of taking this next step in the history of USA Floorball and with this team of determined young men by winning a World Championship Qualifier. I’d like to thank all the players, coaches, and parents who have been involved in our youth programs over the past years for working together to bring us to this milestone. “ says U19 General Manager Brian Radichel.
In the previous years of team USA’s men’s U19, the team had never been composed of such skill and talent. The games against Canada were hands down the most exciting ones the team had participated in. The energy and cheers from the crowd gave the team the energy and drive to win. The boys knew that this is what they had been training for. And the training had paid off.
“The U.S. youth programs have taken big steps in the last couple of years with a lot of telented players coming up. That has been proven by our first ever victory over Canada on the U19 level in the qualifiers. As a team we came together and grew a lot during the qualification weekend.” says head coach Joel Olofsson.
Team USA’s men’s under 19 team will now go to compete in the 2023 floorball World Championships in Denmark. Make sure to watch the upcoming games and continue to cheer them on. Go Team USA!