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For Yardley-Makefield Soccer star, joy and pain in winning the under-18 national title

Kyle MacDonald knows both the joy and pain that sometimes come with winning. MacDonald scored the goal that led the Yardley-Makefield Soccer Thunder under-18 boys team to victory in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship game in Phoenix on July 31.

Kyle MacDonald knows both the joy and pain that sometimes come with winning.

MacDonald scored the goal that led the Yardley-Makefield Soccer Thunder under-18 boys team to victory in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship game in Phoenix on July 31.

MacDonald blasted a penalty kick into the net in the 89th minute, and the score stood for a 1-0 win over the defending national champion, Georgia's Alpharetta Ambush.

With 40 seconds left in the game, however, the 5-foot-8, 140-pound striker leaped for a header to clear the ball near his net when a defender undercut him.

"I landed on my left forearm, and the kid's cleat landed on my arm," breaking it in two places, MacDonald said. "Initially, I was in shock, but as time went on the pain was excruciating."

Still, the Penn State-bound forward refused to be removed from the field until the game ended.

"At that moment I didn't feel any pain," MacDonald said. "I felt the excitement of winning a national title. It puts my teammates and me in an elite group of athletes who were the best we could have been in winning such a big title."

The future architectural student, who won a partial scholarship to play for the Nittany Lions, was named the tournament's most valuable player. MacDonald scored three goals in four games, and the team went 2-0-2 in the tournament.

Colin Sulpizio received the tournament's Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper in the under-18 group, and he praised his YMS coaches and teammates for helping him.

The Thunder's Bryan Attanasio and Raleigh Damico also made the all-tournament team.

The Thunder started the competition July 27 with a 2-1 win over the KCFC Rangers 92/93, the Kansas state champion. Over the next two days, the Thunder finished with 1-1 ties against California state champion Palo Alto Blue and Alpharetta.

In the July 28 game with Palo Alto, Mike Loughery got the Thunder on the scoreboard first in the 20th minute. However, Palo Alto's Joe Mendoza evened the score in the 81st minute, and the game remained tied at 1-1.

The next day, Javier Puga gave the Thunder a 1-0 lead on a first-half goal. But Alpharetta's Karl Chester made it 1-1 in the second half.

The U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship began with more than 100,000 teams in several age divisions. It was pared to 60 qualifiers who went to Phoenix, and the final 48 teams played for 12 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship crowns.

The Thunder will be honored Aug. 13 at PPL Park in Chester during the Union's Major League Soccer game against FC Dallas.

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