Yucca Valley High School alum Shelton on path to U.S. Open

Cody Shelton will play with the OCFC as they face the LA Galaxy in the fourth round of the U.S. Soccer championship June 12. Shelton scored the first goal  and contributed to the winning point in round three of the competition.

YUCCA VALLEY — Yucca Valley High School alum Cody Shelton will compete with his Orange County Football Club teammates as they face the LA Galaxy in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s national championship, June 12.

Shelton is a native of Joshua Tree who learned the game playing in the Morongo Basin Youth Soccer League before moving on to play competitively when he was 11, according to his parents, Robert and Lily.

He leads the OCFC in goals and is tied for assists

The OCFC, an amateur team, advanced to the fourth round after a shocking upset against the professional Las Vegas Lights 5-3 Wednesday.

The win earned the amateur National Premier Soccer League team a $25,000 bonus for advancing farthest in the open division. They are now the lone remaining amateur club.

Shelton had a starring role in the third-round match, scoring in the sixth minute.

His club reports:

“Winger Dakota Collins streaked down the left flank to send a cross into the Las Vegas penalty area.

“After a header from Peter Gregory, the ball found its way to Shelton and he headed the ball past Angel Alvarez to give OCFC a 1-0 lead.”

Las Vegas made some changes and cut the Orange County lead to 3-2 after the half. From the club report:

“Things got ugly in the 73rd minute when an incident resulted in a straight red card being shown to Las Vegas defender Christian Torres after an apparent scuffle with OCFC midfielder Cody Shelton.

“But despite being one man down, Las Vegas kept up the pressure and was finally rewarded when a free kick from Jose Villareal was headed home by Junior Sandoval in the 85th minute.

“The home crowd was fired up and all the momentum was with the Las Vegas Lights as the match seemed destined for extra time.

But the OCFC players refused to give up and were not in the mood for the night to be prolonged.

“After a throw-in, the ball found its way to Cody Shelton in the 89th minute.

“Shelton whipped the ball into the Vegas penalty area and local boy Blake Frischknecht half-volleyed the ball past high school friend Thomas Olsen to stun the crowd and give OCFC a 4-3 lead.”

Coach Paul Caligiuri chose Shelton as man of the match.

“Cody scored the first goal of the night and he gave a clinical pass for the winning goal,” Caligiuri said.

“Basically, as a team captain he led OCFC from minute one to the end and stepped up in the critical moments coming up with huge plays.”

The OCFC advanced to the third round with a dramatic extra-time win against another Orange County team, the OC Soccer Club.

Shelton, a midfielder, played a key role in the victory, the Orange County Football Club said.

The teams were tied at 2-2 at the end of the match and went into extra time but after 30 minutes, no one had scored and it was time for a penalty shootout.

After four rounds, the OCFC was up 4-3 going into the final round of penalties. The club reported:

“Cody Shelton walked to the penalty spot as fans of both teams eagerly awaited. Just like his teammates, Shelton showed no signs of nervousness and scored the final penalty as OCFC won 5-3 on penalties to advance to the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup.”

The fourth round is when Major League Soccer clubs enter the tournament. The official draw Thursday paired the FC with two-time Open Cup champion LA Galaxy.

Shelton played for MBYSA, Yucca High

Shelton played for Yucca Valley High School, where he was named all-CIF and player of the year. After graduation, he played for the Biola University, where he was named All-Conference, All-American and defender of the year.

He went on to play for several teams, including the Thunder Bay Chill in Ontario, Canada, the Pali Blues in Costa Mesa, the Kitsap Pumas in Washington and the Coras in Riverside.

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